By Asta Mala
Women trafficking have become a global threat to vulnerable women and young girls. It is an injustice and violation of human right that affect millions of people and socio economic level of a particular country.
Women trafficking is a serious crime and a grave violation of human rights.
Every year, thousands of women fall into the hands of traffickers in their own countries and abroad. Almost every country in the world is affected by trafficking, whether as a country of origin, transit, or destination for victims.
Therefore women trafficking is the recruitment, transportation, transfer, or harboring, of women by means of threat, use of force, coercion, abduction, fraud, deception of the abuse of power, position of vulnerability, giving or receiving of payment and benefits to achieve the consent of a women having control over the traffickers, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation includes, prostitution, forced labor, slavery or practices similar to slavery, victims are trafficked across both national and international countries of the world.
The primary victims of trafficking are women and young girls, the majority of whom are trafficked for the purpose of sex and labor, which is a complicated phenomenon with many forces that affect women’s decision to work abroad. Traffickers primary target women because they are disproportionately affected by poverty and discrimination, factors that impede their access to employment, and educational opportunities. The strongest factor is the precarious economic situation, which impact the availability of satisfactory employment in many countries for women.
Traffickers recruit commonly potentials victims who are socially or economically vulnerable; these include, women and girls who are susceptible to drug addiction, violence in family, sexual abuse, family dysfunction, school failure, or a history of criminal behavior. It also include orphans, women with physical disability, and those who are innumerate and illiterate.
Women become the victims of trafficking when they seek for assistance to obtain employment, work permits, visas and other travelling document.
Traffickers’ prey on women’s vulnerable circumstances and may lure them into crime networks through deceit and false promises of decent working conditions and fair payment. Women go to abroad not knowing that they will work in the sex industry and without awareness of the terrible work condition and violence that accompany the trafficking business.
Other women answer job advertisement for positions abroad such as dancers, waiters, and nannies, only to find themselves held against their will and forced into prostitution and sexual slavery. In abroad, women are subjected to physical violence, sexual assault, rape, battery, threats and other forms of coercion.
Women trafficking have a direct effect on the physical and mental well-being of the victims, during the initial trafficking; women are deceived usually through the exploitation of their current circumstances, as most victims have a history of abuse and are already living in precarious circumstances. Victims are forced into unsanitary, stressful living condition and receive little health care service, movement is often restricted and their personal document withheld, and most experience significant physical, emotional, sexual, and psychological violence. Must times escaping from such slavery is extremely difficult and dangerous, putting the victims in personal risk. If rescued, integration back in to society is incredibly difficult because of the shame, stigma, threat of retribution, and trauma experienced during enslavement.
Most victims are promised good job, education, or citizenship in a foreign country or offered a false marriage proposal, which is turned into bondage, traffickers unwillingly and forcibly kidnap others. The most common tactic of coercion used among victims is depth bondage, an illegal practice where the victims has to pledge personal services in order to repay some form of depth, such as transportation into the foreign country or living expenses.
Woman traffickers often approach families living in poverty and seek for girls or young women with the promise of better life in a richer country or may approach women who are engaged in prostitution to be transported overseas.
Women are recruited through either finesse or guerrilla pimping. Finesse pimping involves using compassion, kindness, and psychological games such as luring victims through small gift of cash, cloths, shelter, food and drugs that make them feel obligated or indebted to the pimp, while guerrilla pimping involves using violence, threat, intimidation, or aggression in order to recruit and then enslave the victim.
Victims are particularly susceptible to sexually transmitted infection such as gonorrhea, urinary, tract infection, syphilis, and public lice, including, human immune deficiency virus/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome HIV/AIDS which is known to be prevalent, they may also experience pelvic pain, virginal tearing, rectal trauma, and urinary difficulties as a result of commercial sex work and hard labor.
One overriding factor in the proliferation of trafficking is the fundamental belief that the lives of women and young girls are expendable. In societies where women are undervalued or not at all, women are at great risk for being abused, trafficking, and coerced into sex slavery. Women trafficking promotes societal break down by removing women from their families and communities, trafficking fuels organized crime group that usually participate in many other illegal activities, including drug, weapons trafficking and money laundering. It negatively imparts local and nation labor markets, due to the loss of human resources. Women trafficking burdens public health systems, and trafficking erodes government authority encourages widespread corruption and threatens the security of vulnerable populations.
Organization crime is largely responsible for the spread of international women trafficking. Women trafficking along with its correlative elements, kidnapping, rape, prostitution and physical abuse is illegal in nearly every country in the world. However, wide spread corruption and greed make it possible for women trafficking to quickly and easily proliferate.
Though national and international institutions may attempt to regulate and enforce, may in fact be participating in women trafficking rings. If women experienced improved economic and social status, trafficking would in large part be eradicated.
Asta Mala is of department of mass communication, University of Maiduguri.