Background of the Study
Nigeria is a source, transit, and destination country for children subjected to trafficking in persons including forced labor and forced prostitution. Nigerian children are recruited from rural areas within the country’s borders girls for involuntary domestic servitude and sexual exploitation, and boys for forced labor in street vending, domestic servitude, mining, and begging(Maetens, 2007). Nigerian children are taken from Nigeria to other West and Central African countries, primarily Gabon, Cameroon, Ghana, Chad, Benin, Togo, Niger, Burkina Faso, and the Gambia, for the same purposes. Children from West African states like Benin, Togo, and Ghana where Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) rules allow for easy entry are also forced to work in Nigeria, and some are subjected to hazardous jobs in Nigeria’s granite mines(Osita, 2013). Nigerian girls are taken to Europe, especially to Italy and Russia, and to the Middle East and North Africa, for forced prostitutionOsita (2013).
Child labor is an age-long practice in the history of mankind. It has existed in various forms in various parts of the world since ancient times. The earliest known form of child labor is perhaps slavery which was big business, as it both created and relied on the support network of big merchants and some well-placed members of the societies where it flourished. In more recent history, child labor emerged as an issue during the industrial revolution when children were forced to work in dangerous conditions for well up to 12 hours in a day(Osita, 2013). In 1860, 50% of children in England between the ages of 5 and 15 were said to be working. However, 1919 saw the world systematically begin to address the issue of child labor and the International Labor Organization (ILO), (2013) adopted standards to eliminate it. Throughout the 20thCentury, a number of legally binding agreements and international conventions were adopted but despite all these, child labor continues to this day (Ortuno and Apiwan, 2009).
According to Williams, Finke, Warren, Bazan, Walgen and Cohen (2005) varying that there is no universally accepted definition of child labour or trafficking, definitions of the term are used by International Organizations, nongovernmental organizations, trade unions and interest groups. To them child trafficking/labour means work for children that harms or exploits them in some ways to physically, mentally, morally or by blocking their access to education. International Labour Organization (2013) sees child labour as some types of work performed by child below age 18. Thus, child labourers are child workers between the ages of five and seventeen. Osita (2013) defines child labour as “making children to do work that is physically and mentally harmful and which interrupts their education or social development”. However, it distinguishes child labour from child work. Some social scientists see “child work” as not objectionable while “child labour” is objectionable, exploitative and oppressive. Thus, by child work is meant work in which primary emphasis is on learning training or socialization (Hodges, 2001). As such, the work schedule is flexible, tends to be responsive to the developing capacity of the child. Though it is for learning, training and socialization, children are still being exploited and abused. Whereas the organization of African Unity in highlighting the rights of the child, states that even though every child ought to grow and develop in a free society in the spirit of understanding, tolerance, mutual respect and friendship among people and adults infringes on their rights(Gelles, 2009).
The International Labour Organization (ILO) (2013) has estimated that 250 million of the world children between the ages of five and fourteen work. ECPAT (2019) asserts that the age of children who engage in child trafficking/labour ranges from four to seventeen years old. According to Oloko (2009) an estimated 8 million Nigerian children are said to be trapped under the yoke of childlabour in spite of government effort at stopping it and ensuring the education of all children. Otubokun (2010) claim that children are involved in exploitative work when they are too young to do so. They further assert that the hours are too long and the work is too difficult for a small growing body. Hence,Fatusi, Segun, Adeyemi and Odujinrin (2011) assert that adolescents are exploited under conditions that amount to a modern form of slavery. They rarely escape and are never in position to negotiate the conditions of their employment. Again, the International Labour Organization (2013) estimates that the number of child labourers in Africa could surge from today’s 80 million to over 100 million by the year 2020. This is as a result of a demographic explosion of impoverished people and inadequate levels of economic growth across Africa.
According to Williams, et. al. (2005), work ranges from taking care of animals, planting and harvesting food, to being in many kinds of small manufacturing companies for auto repair, making of footwear and textiles. The authors further claim that more boys than girls work outside their homes. Girls often work as domestic maids. Being someone’s house help through child trafficking can be very risky. Maids are cut off from friends and families. This is one reason why many youngsters do not attend schools. For instance, in Port Harcourt, a story had it that a housewife forced her domestic maid into a deep freezer for failing to open the gate on time. Many children in hazardous and dangerous job get injured or even die. Today’s children will join the work force tomorrow but this might be an illusion since many would have been destroyed due to the incidence of child labour. The worst form of child trafficking and labour are seen where children are forced into prostitution, sex work and drug peddling.
Statement of the Problem
Trafficking in human beings, especially children, is not new. Historically it has taken many forms, but in the context of globalization, has acquired shocking new dimensions. It is a complex, multi-faceted phenomenon involving multiple stakeholders at the institutional and commercial level. It is a demand-driven global business with a huge market for cheap labour and commercial sex confronting often insufficient or unexercised policy frameworks or trained personnel to prevent it.Nigeria has acquired a reputation for being one of the leading African countries in human trafficking with cross-border and internal trafficking. Trafficking of persons is the third largest crime after economic fraud and the drug trade. Decades of military regimes in Nigeria have led to the institutionalized violation of human rights and severe political, social,and economic crises. This negatively impacts affect the development of community participation,especiallyof children. Despiteinternational institutions designed to advance their causes. Inaddition, FRN, (2004) the oil boom in the 1970s created opportunities for migration both inside and outside of the country. This created avenues for exploitation, for international trafficking in children, for forced labor and for prostitution.Nigeria ratified the UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress,and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women,and Children in 2001, 2011 and 2016 respectively and passeda national law against trafficking entitled “Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Law Enforcement and Administration Act 2003, Nigeria is one of the few African countries that passed such a law. However, despite this law, Nigeria still fails to cease in this acts as a result, this study examined the prevalence and prevention of child trafficking and child labour through guidance and counselling services in Ikere Local government area of Ekiti State.
Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study is to construct a prevalence and prevention of child trafficking and child labourthrough guidance and counselling services. The specific objectives of the study is to:
- investigate individual perception on child trafficking and child labour in Ikere local government area of Ekiti State.
- examine the prevalence of child trafficking and child labour in Ikere local government area of Ekiti State.
- determine the preventive measures that can be used for child trafficking and child labour
- determine the impact of guidance and counselling on eradicating child trafficking and child labour in Ikere local government area of Ekiti State.
Significance of the Study
The finding of the study shed light to educational stakeholders about the significance of guidance and counseling in upholding and promoting the total eradication of child trafficking and child labour in Nigeria. Also, this study will help parents’ and guidance to be fully prepared for the challenges ahead and apply what they have learnt through counselling for proper upbringing of their ward(s). It is expected that through the findings and subsequent recommendations of this study, child labour and child trafficking would be reduced or eradicated totally.
The study of this nature will help the state, nation, educational sectors and the world in general benefit from adherence to the recommendations and implementation will help produce children who would be better leaders of tomorrow.
Finally, the research contributed to available literature and also encourage further research on the topic.
The following questions were raised in order to guide this research work:
- What are the individual perception on child trafficking and child labour in Ikere local government area of Ekiti State?
- Is there any prevalence of child trafficking and child labour in Ikere local government area of Ekiti State?
- What are the preventive measures that can be used for child trafficking and child labour?
- Does service of guidance and counselling have impact on eradicating child trafficking and child labour in Ikere local government area of Ekiti State?
Scope of the Study
The study of prevalence and prevention of child trafficking and child labour through guidance and counselling services in Ikere local government area of Ekiti State would employ parents/guidance from different location within the study area. This research would be limited to Ikere local government area of Ekiti State as a result of some constraints such as financial challenges of the researcher and inadequate time frame allocated for this research. However, the research believes that the selected group will be useful for the purpose of this study.
Definition of Terms
Crime: Crime is the breach of a rule or law for which a punishment may ultimately be prescribed by some governing authority or force.
Trans-border Crimes: Represent a number of illegal and notorious activities carried out by individuals and groups across national and international borders, either forsmuggling, human trafficking and child labour, drug trafficking, money laundering, illegal mining, advance fee fraud etc.
Human Trafficking: Is a form of slavery and it includes the movement of persons who are the victims and who are subject to violence, deception or coercion for the purpose of sexual exploitation or forced labour.
Traffickers: Refer to recruiters; transporters; those who exercise control over trafficked persons; those who transfer and/or maintain trafficked persons in exploitative situations.
Trafficked Persons: Refers to the victims or persons who are in the process of being trafficked by deception threat, coercion, kidnapping, sale, fraud, marriage, child marriage or any other unlawful means. Trafficked persons may include men, women and children.
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