Academic journal article African Journal of Criminology and Justice Studies : AJCJS

Factors Vitiating against the Effectiveness of the Nigeria Police in Combating the Criminal Exploitation of Children and Women

Academic journal article African Journal of Criminology and Justice Studies : AJCJS

Factors Vitiating against the Effectiveness of the Nigeria Police in Combating the Criminal Exploitation of Children and Women

Article excerpt

Abstract

It is estimated that each year close to one million persons are trafficked across international borders. Nigeria has been identified as a major source, destination, and transit for the trafficking of persons, particularly women and children. The women are trafficked mostly to Europe and the Middle East, as well as to North America for the purposes of sexual exploitation. Children are trafficked within Africa and other parts of the world for the purposes of adoption, for domestic and agricultural labor, and for sale of human body parts. Efforts by the government of Nigeria (including enacting new laws, strengthening existing laws and other social control mechanisms, and collaborating with other countries) to combat trafficking and the sale of humans have not yielded appreciable results. Several factors (inadequate policing, corruption within the policing system, relative deprivation of freedoms, mounting social injustices, lack of conventional social opportunities, increasing conflicting social values, gender imbalances in the provision of education and economic opportunities, and the breakdown of social institutions) cause this impasse. This study examines the nature, extent, and development of this phenomenon and attempts to delineate the factors vitiating against Nigeria's law enforcement and government efforts in combating this particularly troubling international crime. Two policies are possible. The short term would introduce mass education about the danger of human trafficking and strengthen the legal instrument and the capability of the law enforcement system to deal with the problem, and the long term would address the social and economic conditions in Nigeria which sustains the phenomenon.

Introduction

Trafficking in women and children for the purposes of economic and sexual exploitation is a transnational organized crime which is a hybrid of corporate, syndicated, and street forms of crime. Many scholars have described trafficking in human beings as a contemporary slave trade (Farr, 2004; U.S Department of State, 2007). Traffickers employ several methods including violence, coercion, and deception to accomplish their objectives of moving the victims away from their homes and families and into places where they are forced to work as domestic servants, prostitutes, farm laborers, factory workers, etc. It is important to add that while a majority of those trafficked are children and women, men are also victims (U.S Department of State, 2007).

The forceful transportation of people from one part of the world by individuals and some states for profit and sexual exploitation is not a new phenomenon. In various societies, and from ancient through recent history, women, men, and children have been corralled into forced labor, prostitution, and domestic and sexual slavery (Ringdal, 2004; Bechard, 2003; Flowers, 1998). But contemporarily, this phenomenon appears to intensify because of several critical factors. For instance, with the increase in population in regions of the world where economic development and the provision of labor and social infrastructure to develop pursuits in self, community, and national advancement have not materialized, individuals desperate for economic survival are tempted to engage in criminal and unjust activity in order to survive economically. Moreover, even though the effort of acquiring and learning about new technologies is positive and creative, those shrewd enough to exploit advancement in transportation and communication technology often use them to harm others. Broadly speaking then, factors such as increased population, poverty, unequal distribution of basic resources, gender inequality, devaluation of children, and restrictive and complex immigration laws and policies have left many people, especially women and children vulnerable to traffickers who smuggle them through clandestine networks to other countries. The complexity of this exploitation is such that exploiters enter the scene with promises of a better life somewhere else. …

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