Sociodemographic Characteristic, Oath Taking and Psychiatric Morbidity among Rescued Female Victims of Human Trafficking in Sokoto, Nigeria
Background: It is common knowledge that Nigeria is a source and route of transit for victims of human trafficking. Yet studies on psychiatric morbidity among the victims in the country are rare. In addition, previous studies were among post destination victims. The present study is aimed at determining the prevalence of psychiatric morbidity among predestination victims of human trafficking rescued in Sokoto, North-Western, Nigeria. Methods: The study was a cross sectional study in which subjects
(n=87) were administered questionnaires relating to sociodemographic variables, oath taking and psychiatric morbidity (General Health Questionnaire-28). Results: The mean age of the victims was 21.7± 2.9 years. Majority of them were from Edo state, 56.3% and Delta state, 21.8% South-South, Nigeria. They were mostly singles (93.1%), and 72.4% had secondary school education. While few of the victims were deceived, majority (61.3%) of them willingly travelled with the traffickers for financial gains at the destination. The prevalence of psychiatric morbidity was 50% while that of oath taking was 85.7%. Factors associated with increased prevalence were: age group 25 – 29 years (66.6%), education attainment not more than primary (64.3%), involvement in unskilled job before embarking on the journey (62.8%) and having taken an oath (50%). Conclusion: The findings suggested the need to pay attention to the psychiatric needs of the victims of trafficking in Nigeria. In addition, there could be an ‘unseen’ tie (oath) binding the victims to the trafficker which has to be managed adequately to ensure the victims regain their freedom.
Key Words: Human trafficking; Oath taking; Psychiatric morbidity;