Academic journal article The Journal of Pan African Studies (Online)

The Challenges of Prostitution and Female Trafficking in Africa: An African Ethico-Feminist Perspective

Academic journal article The Journal of Pan African Studies (Online)

The Challenges of Prostitution and Female Trafficking in Africa: An African Ethico-Feminist Perspective

Article excerpt


The paper is an attempt to explore and defend African ethico-feminism as a viable complementary ideology for curbing the challenges of prostitution and female trafficking in 21st century Africa. It argues that African ethico-feminism is a new conception of feminism necessarily relevant to the African predicament on prostitution and female trafficking. This ideological perspective strongly condemns prostitution and female trafficking as ethically unjustified. The paper posits that the strength, resilience and resounding liberation of African women can be positively harnessed and enhanced in order to reduce the spate of prostitution and female trafficking in the continent. It identifies the roles of men and youth in Africa towards curbing prostitution and female trafficking. Finally, the paper harps on the urgent need for African states to augment the principles of ethico-feminism with other viable measures in an attempt to evolve a holistic panacea to the wave of prostitution and female trafficking in Africa.


Prostitution and female trafficking have been difficult and challenging issue for social crusaders, scholars, feminists, government and non-governmental organizations both at national, regional and international levels. There have been legal, moral and medical concerns about these two distinct but related challenges in Africa. The concerns raised by prostitution and female trafficking have to do not only with the exploitation of feminine sexuality by profiteers, but also the objectification of women's dignity.

Exacerbating such concerns is the difficulty of getting reliable statistical data and information on the magnitude of the challenges in Africa. The clandestine nature of the crimes and the reluctance of victims to come forward, report and give necessary information, makes prostitution and trafficking somewhat challenging. The increasing awareness of the impotency of legal and criminal sanctions as effective tools in stemming down the tide of prostitutions and female trafficking in Africa, make the concerns on these challenges more worrisome.

In a recent statistical report by J. Davey (2005), "600, 000-800,000 human beings are trafficked internationally each year with 80% of these population as women and children. Human trafficking is the third top revenue earning for organized crime and a fast growing phenomenon in the world". Given this trend, it is pathetic that classical and street prostitution of African women, which involves inter-states and intra-country female trafficking, have equally been on the increase. More African women are now migrating into the New World in search of the prostitution job. Many more are trafficked (both internally and externally) with consummated tales and promises of better fortunes in new places of abode.

While statistics are not accurately available to expose the wave in Africa, we are quite accustomed to seeing captions of 'deported' prostitutes from the New World as screaming headlines in the electronic and print media. We are equally quite familiar with series of tales reflecting the psychological trauma, ordeals and experiences of trafficked women and children. In view of the reoccurring manifestations, perversity and enormous nature of prostitution and female trafficking in contemporary Africa, it appears that these vices are vast becoming legitimate institutions.

But should we allow the scourge of prostitution and female trafficking overshadow our rationality, collective intelligence and human control? Is there any casual relationship between prostitution and female trafficking, especially as it affects the African experiences? Are legislation and criminalization of human trafficking by African states government sufficient and necessary conditions in ravaging these social menaces? Why have these challenges defied successful and meaningful solutions? The fundamentality of these questions calls for an urgent re-appraisal of the meaning, nature, scope and efforts made so far on the challenges. …

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