Human Trafficking in Edo State (Nigeria): A Socio- Economic Study

  • AA Lawal


The essay is derived from a field study executed in 2009. Its focus is on
Benin City inhabited mostly by the Bini group although other groups like
the Ishan, Etsako, Akoko-Edo, and Owan are also well represented. It is
generally believed that Bini girls/women dominate the sex export to
Europe through human trafficking. But there is no reliable statistics to
validate this assertion as most commentators engage in a blame game.
However, the factors that account for human trafficking include the
impact of the Nigerian Civil War (1967-1970) and especially the six weekoccupation of the Bendel State by “Biafran” soldiers who raped girls and women recklessly; the corrupt military regimes (1966-1979, 1984-1998); the socio-economic impact of the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP)-1986-1993; early physical and sexual abuse of teenage girls; collapse of family values and family honour, owing to prevalent polygamy, polyandry, adultery and prostitution to satisfy the inordinate
ambition for affluence in the society. Others are the absence of parental
role models; parental pressure, peer pressure and societal pressure to
“go get money regardless of how it is earned” and remit some to build
houses, supermarkets and buy custom-made cars. The paper gives the
details and recommends some measures for the gradual eradication of the
evils of human trafficking. It emphasizes that many Christians, Muslims
and shrine priests are involved in the business just as the Yoruba, Edo,
Igbo, Hausa, etc. serve as agents and traffickers.

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eISSN: 1596-5031