HUMAN TRAFFICKING IN WEST AFRICA (A case study of Edo state Nigeria)


This research examine human trafficking in West Africa, with specific focus on Edo State.

The study adopted a descriptive method using qualitative analysis to solve the research problems.

The findings from the study revealed the prevalence, incidence and knowledge of human trafficking and child abuse among residents of Edo State. The results revealed the causes and determining factors of human trafficking and child abuse among residents of Edo State to include poverty and armed conflict; lack of economic opportunity and education; discriminatory practices including gender discrimination; abusive family environments; restrictive migration policies; and poorly regulated industrial sectors. Identified possible solutions to the menace of human trafficking and child abuse in Edo State includes effective poverty alleviation programme, strict law enforcement process and public enlightenment.

The study demonstrated that human trafficking and child abuse were very rampant in Edo State. Following the conclusions, the study propose the following recommendations: The government should legislate against gender discrimination, and make girl-child education free at primary and post primary school levels; The government should set limit to family size; The Edo State government should make adult education compulsory for all illiterate parents; The government should encourage parents’ involvement in cooperative societies through which they will be empowered for economic self-reliance; The government should expand the job market and make employment available to single or unmarried youths to help the care for themselves and think less of migrating away from their State or country.





Human trafficking has been a pressing issues not just in Nigeria but globally, and it seems to be swept away by most countries because they feel there are other issues that are more important but in all, the above stated case is as important as any other case or problems going on, and should be looked into to enable the creations of solutions to help in the reduce of trafficking of humans globally.

 Most time when people hear about human trafficking they come to the conclusion, the person trafficked would be used as a sex slave, but there is more to it. When we talk about human trafficking it doesn’t refer to the female gender allow it is been referred to both male and female gender, globally due to research carried out there is an estimates which shows that over 5.5 million children are victims of trafficking and forced labor and up to 2 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men were sexually abused before the age of 18 which shows that children are also been trafficked and men are also been abused sexually and other wise.

Furthermore, human trafficking has become a global business that affects mostly children and young people, including women in developing countries. Human trafficking, according to United Nations (2010), denotes the recruitment, transportation, transfer, laboring or a receipt of persons, by means of threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of powers or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation, servitude and child labor, Owasanoye, (2012).

Operationally, trafficking in persons is viewed as a modern day form of slavery. It refers to the use of deceit and coercion to recruit and transfer persons either internally within the domestic borders of a country or externally across international borders for the purpose of exploitation. Human trafficking differs from abduction in the sense that while human trafficking is a modern day form of slavery, abduction is the forceful snatching away of people without negotiating for consent, Owasanoye, (2012). Victims of human trafficking are young children, teenagers, men and women who are subjected to force, fraud or coercion for the purpose of sexual exploitation, servitude and child labor, Ekpe, (2016).

The United Nations Children Fund, UNICEF, (2016) indicated that 4000 children were trafficked from Edo, Cross River and Akwa Ibom States to various parts of Nigeria as well as other countries. Internal human trafficking is predominant in some States of the Federation that are categorized as endemic. Such States are Lagos, Ogun and Rivers States in the southern part of Nigeria and Kano, Katsina, Benue, Adamawa and Taraba States in the Northern part. Edo, Cross River, Akwa Ibom and Ogun States provide outlets for external human trafficking to ltaly, Spain, Gabon, Benin Republic and Cameroon, Uwa, (2010). In such children, women and men are been trafficked from the above listed states to another, in the process selling their fellow humans right for cheap change instead of advocating for free and good education for the children who are not privileged to have one, and help give Nigeria a good name.


The case of human trafficking is not new phenomena in Nigeria. It comes with a new trend that’s hard to quantify; children are abused and trafficked within and outside Nigeria for many purposes, Adepoju, (2015). Furthermore, most of the victims are children whose numbers are not known, Konstantopoulos (2013); It is a public health challenge affecting the world and with only a few programs to address it as it eats deep into the society. Similarly, Bale & Soodater (2009) are of the opinion that the total number of trafficked and abused victims is two times that of olden days' slavery, hence there is need to review its impact on the population..

Child abuse is known to be a concept under human trafficking and in Nigeria they both erode the cultural ethics where young people are traditionally seen as assets. They are helping hands that can be assigned household, trading and farm work. Their involvements are considered as part of the socialization and growing up process for the young ones. Parents lend support to the young ones to do age-appropriate works as part of learning and cultural induction. Such work is done in a safe environment provided by the community, under the watchful eyes of the family members. But with increased poverty of local communities, shrinking of communal economy by rural-urban migration and the resulting limitation for decent livelihoods, parents commenced sending their children off to be domestic helps in cities. It rarely takes long before children are being trafficked and abused put into work situations that are harmful to their welfare and development, Aghenta, (2015).

NAPTIP (2017) showed that much is still required to ensure adequate, safe and healthy environment for such children in West Africa. It also established that human trafficking and child abuse is endemic in almost all the states of Nigeria and young people and women considered particularly vulnerable because of their weak profile. Human trafficking is an exploitative act that put to risk the survival of most teenage children, hence there is need for this study in Edo State, Nigeria, recognizing that if nothing is done, it will continue and shatter Nigeria’s image among the committee of nations.


The main objective of this study is to analyze cases of human trafficking and child abuse in Nigeria. Specifically, the objectives of this study are to:

  1. examine the prevalence, incidence and knowledge of human trafficking among residents of Edo State.
  2. analyze the causes and determining factors of human trafficking and among residents of Edo State.
  3. examine the residence of their views and mindset of the fast raising rate of human trafficking in Edo state
  4. determine the possible solutions to the menace of human trafficking in Edo State.


Based on the objectives of this research, the following questions are raised to solve the problems under study:

  1. How can the prevalence, incidence and knowledge of human trafficking be examined among residents of Edo State?
  2. How can we analyze the causes and determining factors of human trafficking among residents of Edo State?
  3. How can their thoughts and views of human trafficking be changed to reduce the rate of self-trafficking in Edo state?
  4. What way can a person determine the possible solutions to the menace of human trafficking in Edo State?


The outcome of this study will educate the government and policy makers, the academic and the general public on the relationship between human trafficking and child abuse in West Africa but most especially in Edo State Nigeria. It will also throw insight into the prevalence, causes and possible solution to the menace of human trafficking in Edo State Nigeria and behond.

This research will also serve as a resource base to other scholars and researchers interested in carrying out further research in this field subsequently, if applied will go to an extent to provide new explanation to the topic.


Methodology is part of the research that shows the ways and approaches of collecting the data (Oliver, 2004). This research is primarily qualitative as it is based on the gender and justice system in Nigeria between 2012 and 2018. The reason for choosing the qualitative analysis strategy is the exploratory and the qualitative nature of study. According to Robson (1993), flexibility is always the main strength of the case study strategy in terms of interpretation and getting access to the specified places. The research is a based on secondary data. We used document analysis/content analysis as main method of data collection. Document analysis/content analysis also called “textual analysis” (Travers, 2001) in the study will include all kinds of academic articles, textual and multi-media products, ranging from television programs to web sites on the internet

Sources of data:

In the course of research for this work relevant data and information were obtained from the main sources.  These were primary and secondary source.

Primary Sources: Primary sources which were utilized in the course of the research for this work from archival research.  Material was consulted at the National Library, Benin City, and Edo State.  They include report on gender and justice system in Nigeria and other documents relating to this works.

Secondary Source: Secondary source which consulted in some university and public libraries across the country include textbooks, journals and periodicals information obtained from primary sources.  These sourced helped to provide data and information relating to gender and justice system in Nigeria.


This study will cover issues of human trafficking in Edo State from 2012 to 2018. Reason being that, during this period of years there have been a large number of reported cases which gives more knowledge, information and in-depth data on human trafficking in Edo state Nigeria.


Human trafficking:

  • This is the action or practice of illegally transporting people from one country or area to another, typically for the purposes of forced labor or commercial sexual exploitation through force, fraud or any coercive means.
  • According to the UN Protocol on trafficking, it defines trafficking of humans as all acts related to illegal recruitment, transport, sales or purchase of body human parts and individuals through force, fraud or other coercive means, also for the purpose of forced labor and sexual slavery for the trafficker or others.