One of the oldest crimes in this part of the world is child trafficking. It has eaten deep into the fabric of society and day after day, the menace seems to be on the increase. It is a crime that dates back to ancient times and still very much around, even as it seems the crime now involves mostly children.
Last year, Nigeria ranked No 32 out of the 167 countries with the highest number of trafficked children. So many reasons have been adduced for Nigerian children being vulnerable to this menace and they include poor family background, poverty, rapid urbanization and large family size.
Human trafficking affects every country in the world. Unfortunately, studies have shown that children make up 27% of all human trafficking victims worldwide while 2 out of every identified victims are girls.
Nigeria remains a source, transit and destination when it comes to human trafficking which was why the federal government introduced the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), in order to address the scourge.
Fighting the scourge should not be left solely for NAPTIP. Parents also have a lot to do to keep their children safe. They need to start paying more attention to their children and wards. They need to teach these children how to be more vigilant and aware of their surroundings. Most children that have gone through the ordeal of being kidnapped end up being low in self-esteem, depression, hopelessness and even loss of confidence.
Recently, an 80 year old woman was paraded by the Nigerian Police here in Anambra State over alleged child trafficking. Her house was raided and three children were discovered inside different rooms where they had been confined and subjected to all sorts of physical and emotional torture without food, while waiting to be sold like commodities in the market.
Most of these traffickers carry out all sorts of atrocities and majorly buy and sell children to childless couples and other people who need children for one reason or the other. They have access to forced authorization letters from the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, forged police reports, and sworn court affidavits which enable them to sell children stolen from all parts of the country to their waiting customers both within and outside Nigeria.
Parents should be more careful about how they bring in strangers into their homes. Most importantly, they should teach their children the reasons why they should be careful and what to do when they suspect they are about being victims of child trafficking.