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Human Trafficking and Modern-day Slavery across Africa
Human trafficking and modern-day slavery across Africa
Traffic in persons is a modern form of slavery. Traffickers recruit children and women and then transport them to other places or countries. They exploit the labour of these women and children. Many of the trafficked children are forced to work as sex workers or to engage in fraudulent marriages. Some children are forced to participate in polygamous relations. Many of these trafficked children are employed as cheap labour in mines and industries, and as domestic workers. Their working conditions are similar to those of slaves. Although, the traffic in human beings may vary, due to factors, such as political and geographical conditions, the motive and characteristics are the same (Social Alert).
Irrespective of the form of trafficking, traffickers adopt and implement deception, fraud, terror, isolation, physical violence and debt servitude towards their captives. There are several factors that contribute to the ever growing business of child trafficking. These factors are the same in almost all regions and nations. They include poverty, extreme cultural and traditional practices, ignorance, lack of proper education, tendency to migrate among children, economic opportunities and demand for cheap labour. Rampant corruption among the authorities is of great help to these traffickers, and helps the latter to improve their business (Social Alert).
Children are frequently exploited for carnal purposes, in order to generate income, and this insidious practice has become commonplace. There are organised trafficking groups that buy and sell children, and their number is on the increase. The ILO has identified five major international organised networks, indulging in child trafficking (Social Alert).
One of these networks operates in the region stretching from Latin America to Europe and the Middle East. Another has extensive operations between South Asia and Southeast Asia to Northern Europe and the Middle East. In Europe, there is a regional market for the sale and purchase of children, whilst there is a special female oriented group in West Africa. In addition, there is a regional market catering exclusively to the Arab market (Social Alert).
The Special Rapporteur of the UN on child trafficking and child trade, child prostitution, and child pornography had submitted its report in 1996. This report disclosed that the sex trade in Asia was flourishing and that millions of children had been forced into it (Social Alert).
In Southeast Asia, there are various well established child trafficking routes. These routes stretch from Myanmar to Thailand and from Thailand to China, the US, Japan, and Malaysia. In addition to these nations, child traffic routes extend to other neighbouring countries and other continents. In Asia, there are more than one million children who are the victims of sexual abuse and exploitation. Traffic in teenage girls is growing rapidly in Thailand. In Latin America a large number of children live on the streets, and they are vulnerable to abduction and the sex trade (Social Alert).
Human trafficking is a major problem in Africa. Many nations of the African continent are striving hard to counter this problem. Several of these countries have resorted to the communicative power of sports to quell this activity. It is difficult if not impossible for these countries to employ sophisticated measures to deter this problem. The reason is not difficult to ascertain, these nations can ill afford to incur the expenditure that sophisticated measures entail (Morrow).
A measure adopted in many African countries to prevent trafficking is the Red Card program. In soccer if a player breaches the rules, he is issued a red card, which indicates that he has to leave the game. Similarly, the Red Card programme indicates that the trafficking of women and children is a serious breach of human rights (Morrow).
In the year 2004, South Africa ratified the Palermo Protocol against Human Trafficking. South Africa continues to be the centre for human trafficking in Africa. As such, there are no specific laws that proscribe human trafficking in South Africa. However, the South African Government prosecutes traffickers under other criminal laws, such as the Children's Bill and Sexual Offences Act. These laws contain provisions for prosecuting those who indulge in human trafficking (Morrow). Such being the state of affairs, it would be profitable for South Africa to emulate the legal endeavours of the other African nations, which have achieved some success in preventing human trafficking.
Sporting events and international soccer tournaments provide a great opportunity for traffickers to illegally transfer women and children between nations. This transpired in the African Cup of Nations football competition held in Ghana in 2008. This was offset to a certain extent by the Ghanaian Police's discovery of a conspiracy to recruit children for immoral purposes during the tournament (Morrow).
The ILO took advantage of this Ghanaian sporting event, to conduct awareness campaigns amongst the public in respect of human trafficking. It utilised the Red Card campaign to disseminate its message that human trafficking was criminal and illegal. Under the provisions of Ghana's legislation, trafficking is a crime, punishable with imprisonment for a minimum of five years (Morrow).
The first conviction on charges of trafficking occurred in February 2005. As part of the preparations for the 2008 football tournament, the British High Commission sponsored a workshop conducted by the Ghana Journalists Association, which was entitled "Combating Child Trafficking in Ghana - the Role of the Media" (Morrow).
There were several articles in the media about human trafficking. However, information regarding the efforts taken by the government to prevent trafficking during the tournament was scant. South Africa took cognisance of the problem of human trafficking and in the year 2006, it inaugurated South Africa's National Human Trafficking Awareness campaign. During the course of the programmes conducted in connection with this inauguration, South Africa's soccer team donned t-shirts displaying anti human trafficking slogans. This display was telecast all over the country (Morrow).
This campaign is aimed at preventing human trafficking much before the 2010 World Cup. Several NGOs have been frequently persuading the South African government to adopt adequate measures to prevent trafficking (Morrow). In addition, they have requested the government to enact more stringent legislation against human traffickers
The Southern African Counter - Trafficking Assistance Program (SACTAP) organised by the NGOs provides rehabilitation to the victims of trafficking and helps in their reintegration with the society. The Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA) accepted it social responsibility and volunteered to work with the South African government, in order to prevent trafficking in the World Cup 2010 (Morrow).
Accordingly, FIFA has introduced 20 Centres for the 2010 programme. Under this programme, FIFA would establish facilities to provide health and educational services to young people in South Africa. This programme will comply with the provisions of the Palermo Protocol Against Human Trafficking. This Protocol aims to reduce the number of victims of trafficking. FIFA has inaugurated the Win in Africa with Africa programme, in collaboration with the UN (Morrow). Under this programme, FIFA provides support to local bodies seized with social and human development in South Africa.
South Africa can effectively reduce this immoral trafficking. Writers, journalists and scholars have declared after considerable analysis that a large amount of money stands to be earned by immoral means, on account of the extraordinarily large turnout of fans expected to attend these events. A few of the scholars had recommended the deployment of large numbers of police personnel, as this would prove to be a major deterrent to immoral soliciting. A few other scholars opined that participation by the members of the community would of immense aid in preventing this immoral trafficking (Morrow). Increased public awareness and increased police presence would definitely prevent immoral trafficking.
According to the 2006 TIP Report, South Africa should undertake the measures initiated by Germany to discourage demand side issues in its territory. Germany had been successful in its attempts at preventing trafficking (Morrow).
The European Parliament made a strident call for a European level campaign to address the issues relating to trafficking during major international sport tournaments. The chief concern of such a campaign should be to curtail demand by generating client awareness (Morrow). South Africa is a major centre for human trafficking, and shares this dubious distinction with Germany. Consequently, it would be wise for South Africa to adopt the measures undertaken by Germany, such as media coverage, and nationwide public awareness campaigns.
The problem of prostitution is on the increase in South Africa. Many young South African women are forced to enter prostitution in Macau, after being enticed by traffickers, who make false job offers to these women (Sex trafficking stretches across Southern Africa). Similarly, poor and uneducated women from the rural areas in China are taken South Africa, on the same pretext, and subsequently forced into prostitution.
A meeting was convened in Johannesburg, appropriately termed as the Next Steps to Path Breaking Strategies in the Global Fight against Sex Trafficking in South Africa (Sex trafficking stretches across Southern Africa). This meeting focused on women trafficking to South Africa and related issues.
According to Linda Smith, founder of the War Against Trafficking Alliance, young South African women were found to be working as prostitutes in several brothels in the Netherlands. Similarly, Thai girls were found in the South African houses of ill repute. According to the reports of the International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol) the estimated annual income of traffickers exceeds $19 billion (Sex trafficking stretches across Southern Africa). The sole objective of traffickers was pecuniary gain, and the country of origin was immaterial for these traffickers. Trafficking has become a global phenomenon and a severe problem for many nations.
The modus operandi of traffickers is to bring in women from foreign countries to Johannesburg. Subsequently, these women are sent to Swaziland, Lesotho or Mozambique. Thereupon, the traffickers bring in these women, across the borders into South Africa (Sex trafficking stretches across Southern Africa). This ingenious methodology helps them to circumvent immigration controls at airports.
After arriving in South Africa, the passports of these hapless women are forcibly taken away by the traffickers. After this, they are informed that they have to repay amounts ranging from $12,000 to $15,000, in exchange for freedom. These women have to obey these conditions, and those who protest are subjected to physical violence (Sex trafficking stretches across Southern Africa).
The Institute for Security Studies, based in Pretoria, has estimated that there are more than five hundred organised criminal gangs in operation in South Africa. There are several Nigerian criminal groups that operate in Malawi, Zambia and South Africa. Many of these criminal gangs, indulge in trafficking and lure Mozambican women to South Africa. Thereafter, these women are sold to people working in the Johannesburg mines (Sex trafficking stretches across Southern Africa). The women thus sold are rendered sex slaves, and in addition they have to perform the duties of domestic labourers for the person who purchases them. Children are also traded in this trafficking industry.
According to Molo Songolo, a Cape Town based child activist group, there are nearly 28,000 children working in brothels in South Africa. In Cape Town, nearly a quarter of the prostitutes are children. Moreover, nearly 5,000 boys and girls provide carnal pleasure to foreign tourists visiting Cape Town (Sex trafficking stretches across Southern Africa).
In South Africa, the rate of unemployment is increasing persistently. This leads to severe competition among job aspirants. The number of unemployed women has seen to be disproportionate, in comparison to the number of unemployed men, in respect of the skilled worker group. However, when it comes to unskilled labour or part - time jobs, women outnumber their male counterparts (Arnott).
In addition, there are a large number of women working in the unorganised sector as seasonal workers. The extant labour legislation of South Africa has failed to protect vulnerable labourers, like domestic and seasonal workers. Gender inequality is rampant in South Africa, and women who are the victims of such gender bias, are routinely deprived of educational opportunities (Arnott). This has enhanced the number of illiterate women in South Africa.
As such, in South Africa, unemployment is a persistent problem, and women find it very difficult to obtain adequate employment. In addition, there is a steady increase in the number of women seeking employment is also increasing. As such, women constitute the most vulnerable group of persons seeking work (Arnott).
Limited employment opportunities have compelled many women to resort to immoral means of earning money. The sex industry is flourishing because of male migrant workers who live away from their families for extended periods. This creates a huge demand for sex workers. Many unemployed women have taken to the world's oldest profession, in order to survive.
The armed conflicts and poverty in the neighbouring nations has increased the influx of refugees into South Africa. Many refugees enter illegally without valid work permits. Women refugees chose sex work, in order to survive. They are more susceptible, because they are liable to be arrested on charges of prostitution as well as illegal entry. Moreover, the absence of documents prevents them from obtaining health care and other social services. Moreover, women refugees are vulnerable, on account of ignorance about local dangers, customs and language (Arnott).
South Africa has not been urbanised through its length and breadth. Only a few areas of this country can be designated as urban areas. Moreover, the necessary infrastructure for transportation is not yet in place. The absence of a well developed railway system, thrusts the brunt of transportation needs on trucks. Most of these truck drivers are men, and they have to travel for long periods of time, in the course of transporting goods. These truck drivers constitute the major clientele of the sex industry. Subsequent to the year 1994, trade between South Africa and countries of the Sub - Saharan Africa became a reality (Arnott). The outcome was an increased demand for sex workers.
Human trafficking exposes women to physical violence and sexual abuse. It is not legally defined in South Africa, and offences are recognised on a case to case basis. The new legislation specifically deals with human trafficking for sexual objectives (South Africa; Human Trafficking Legislation to Be Gazetted for Public Comment).
There have been a number of research studies by several non-governmental and research organisations, in the context of human trafficking in South Africa. International organisations, such as Molo Songololo, the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the Gender and Media Southern Africa Network and the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) have conducted research in this area. The findings of their research suggest that South Africa has emerged as the chief centre for human trafficking (BuaNews).
These research endeavours have disclosed that the driving force behind the sex industry in South Africa is poverty. Women and children are traded like commodities, despite the contention of the Department of Social Development that the government had established effective programmes to rescue and rehabilitate the victims of trafficking. It is the persistent stance of the South African government that it is seriously committed to suppress human trafficking (BuaNews).
Under the empowerment programmes, the government is establishing facilities to house victims. Through its efforts, South Africa demonstrates its intention to end the human trafficking problem in its territory. The IOM has established a toll-free helpline to help victims of trafficking who have been brought to South Africa illegally (BuaNews).
The government has drafted legislation to dissuade human trafficking, which is a comprehensive legislation, relating to human trafficking. It identifies and punishes the perpetrators of trafficking. There are several pernicious practices adopted by the people of the Eastern Cape region, as a tradition. As such, child abduction and forced child marriages are practiced under the ukuthwala tradition (South Africa; Human Trafficking Legislation to Be Gazetted for Public Comment).
The government claims that poverty and unemployment are the main factors that contribute to the increase in women trafficking. Sex tourism is on the increase and women are ruthlessly trafficked as domestic labourers from other developing nations. Organised marriages are performed between women brought from developing nations and foreign nationals. These are the new forms of sexual exploitation of women under sex tourism (South Africa; Human Trafficking Legislation to Be Gazetted for Public Comment).
In 2000, the member states of the UN had consented to establish an anti - trafficking protocol. This protocol would supplement the UN Convention against organised crime. The Deputy Secretary General requested member states to ratify this protocol, which is a powerful instrument to prevent trafficking. South Africa, as a member of the United Nations, ratified several international charters and treaties. It also ratified the UN Protocol, which prevents, eliminates and imposes punishments for human trafficking. To its credit, South Africa has enacted strict laws to oppose human trafficking (BuaNews).
Trafficking is not new to South Africa. It was in practice since centuries as its denizens were routinely detained and transported to other continents as slaves. After its independence and after the abolition of apartheid, public opinion was raised against trafficking. It is a very evil practice that emerged from social, political and economic deficiencies.
Ghana is beset with the challenge of child trafficking, which is intertwined with child labour. This is evident in agriculture, the fishing industry, mines, quarries and street hawking. Interviews conducted with child traffickers revealed that they were not aware that they were indulging in any illegal activity, and that employing children as labourers was in breach of the law (Johansen).
Many traffickers do not realise that separating a child from its parents, in order to extract strenuous physical labour is morally wrong. For instance, Benjamin Tornye, a fisherman, stated in the interview that he considered children to be good fishers. Consequently, he had trained them to sail a boat, swim and dive. He failed to realise that there was anything wrong with what he was doing. In his opinion, he was doing a favour to the children and helping them to become skilled fishermen and thereby earn a livelihood (Johansen).
The campaigns conducted by the International Organization of Migration (IOM) spread the message among fishermen and traffickers that children should not be engaged in labour. Several individuals, like Tornye have become active opponents of child trafficking in Ghana (Johansen). These campaigns were so effective that many traffickers realised that children should remain with their parents and that they should not be made to work like adults.
In Ghana, trafficking occurs internally, as well as across the borders. The traffickers, chiefly target impoverished children from rural areas. There are several forms of trafficking in Ghana. One instance of such activity is the trafficking of boys from the Northern Region to work in the fishing communities along the coast of the Volta Lake. In addition, some boys are sent to work in mines in the west (Human Trafficking & Modern-day Slavery).
Girls are trafficked from the northern and eastern regions, chiefly from the Accra and Kumasi areas. They are sent to work as domestic helpers and assistants to local traders. Trafficked children are forced to work in dangerous and hazardous work environments. In several instances children were either injured or killed in these dangerous working conditions (Human Trafficking & Modern-day Slavery).
In the international trafficking of children into Ghana, children between the ages of 7 and 17 years are brought in from neighbour countries, like the Ivory Coast, Togo, Gambia, Nigeria, and Equatorial Guinea. They are subsequently, made to work as farm labourers, divers, street hawkers and domestic labourers. The parents of these children willingly allow traffickers to take their children, and the reason for this reprehensible behaviour is their abject poverty (Human Trafficking & Modern-day Slavery).
The parents of such children were either made advance payments or regular monthly stipends by the recruiters. In addition, these parents were assured that their children would receive food, shelter, training, and education. Some parents send their children to work for their relatives in urban areas. Such children were seen to receive varied treatment (Human Trafficking & Modern-day Slavery).
A sizeable number of the recruiters were women, who procured employment in urban areas for these children. The amount earned on a monthly basis ranged from $2.20 to $3.30, or 20 thousand to 30 thousand Ghanaian cedis. The recruiters were, in several instances, guilty of not providing any education or training to the trafficked children. Trafficked female children are at risk of being sexually abused and forced into prostitution, by their employers. In addition, many women were taken to European countries like Italy, Germany, and the Netherlands. International traffickers entice women, by promising them employment. However, they do not keep up to their promises and force women into prostitution on their reaching the destination (Human Trafficking & Modern-day Slavery).
Females who are trafficked are taken to European nations either directly or through other nations. Many young women are trafficked to the countries of the Middle East. Lebanon is extremely popular with the traffickers of women, because of the vast demand of assistants, unskilled labourers and domestic workers. Some young women are traded in Nigeria, which constitutes a transit nation for women destined to be employed as sex workers. Whilst the remaining women are sent to Western Europe or the Middle East (Human Trafficking & Modern-day Slavery).
International traffickers use Accra as a transit hub to the European countries and nations of the Middle East. Women trafficked from Burkina Faso are taken through Ghana to the Cote d'Ivoire. The Ghanaian authorities claim to have scant information regarding organised crime groups involved in human trafficking (Human Trafficking & Modern-day Slavery).
In December 2005, Ghana reinforced its legal system to effectively counter human trafficking. During that process, the government enacted an anti-trafficking law to deal with trafficking. The government took the assistance from various international bodies that deal with trafficking to prepare this comprehensive legislation. Ghana is not a signatory to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime treaty. The IOM provided incentives to traffickers who set free the children appropriated by them, and who returned these children to their parents. The IOM provided loans to these traffickers on the condition that they would commence viable businesses (Johansen).
Ghana enacted the Human Trafficking Act, whose objective is to prevent, suppress and punish human trafficking. It also aims to provide rehabilitation and reintegration programmes for the victims of trafficking. In order to achieve the targets specified in the Millennium Development Goal, such comprehensive legislation is essential (Fighting Child Trafficking in Ghana).
It is a deplorable fact that Ghanaian children are traded in this day and age. Children are sold to others, in what best can be described as a modern form of slavery. This deprives children of their rights and childhood, for no fault of theirs. Children who have been sold live under inhuman conditions. They are compelled to work in dangerous and harmful environments, in the absence of hygienic and nutritious food, and decent clothes. Such children do not have formal education or moral training. Ultimately, these children emerge as illiterate and undisciplined (Fighting Child Trafficking in Ghana).
The IOM made strenuous efforts to put an end to this inhuman practice. It supported the implementation of the Human Trafficking Act. The IOM chiefly focused its efforts on children working in fisheries. As a part of its endeavours, it organised several workshops and conventions, to inform fishing communities about this evil practice. In addition, the IOM disseminated this information among the partner organisations and the media. Furthermore, the IOM conducted a programme on migration in the Yeji, Mfantesiman and North and South Tornu District. These areas consist of a large number of fishing communities (Fighting Child Trafficking in Ghana).
The IOM launched the project, in order to rescue and rehabilitate captured children. It had collaborated with government organs such as the Department of Social Welfare, Ghana Health Service, Ghana Education Service and the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs. The IOM rescued more than 500 children from their captors and made them join the mainstream of society (Fighting Child Trafficking in Ghana).
The officials of the IOM frequently visit these fishing communities and arrange meetings with their leaders. They inform the people of those communities about child trafficking and its impact on children. They also tell them about the punishment for such deeds under the Human Trafficking Act (Fighting Child Trafficking in Ghana).
According to the IOM, people are unaware that employing children in fishing is a crime. The implementation officers of the IOM visit the fishing community and inform them about the importance of the project. They urge people to release children. After rescuing the children, the IOM camps them at Yeji for a period of one month. Then it shifts them to Accra where it provides them rehabilitation and reunites them with their parents (Fighting Child Trafficking in Ghana).
The IOM provides micro - finance assistance, in order to prevent the needy families from giving their children to fishermen. Such parents are required to start a small business with the loan amount. The implementing partners conduct an inspection of such families, so as to ensure that the loans are being properly utilised (Fighting Child Trafficking in Ghana).
It always acts in the best interests of children. Most of the children belong to poor families whose parents gave them to fishermen due to poverty-stricken conditions in their families. Furthermore, this reintegration process includes offering incentives to parents. The IOM pays money to the families that take back their children, and make monthly, quarterly or annual payments (Fighting Child Trafficking in Ghana).
Child trafficking has plagued Mali, but it has not been treated with the seriousness that it warrants. The victims of this great iniquity are generally between 7 and 15 years, and are mostly male. These abducted children are made to work on cotton, corn and rice plantations in the Ivory Coast. Many others are compelled to handle dangerous tools and highly corrosive chemicals, which prove to be of great risk to these hapless youngsters (Social Alert). Mali has laws that deem such trafficking to be a criminal act; however, the lack of proper implementation of such legislation renders it futile.
Mali ratified several international instruments, such as the Convention relating to Children's Rights and ECOWAS Convention on free movement of persons and goods, which relate to human rights. Unfortunately, their number is paltry and they are conspicuous for not being implemented (Social Alert).
In the year 1998, a National Brainstorming Committee was instituted. This committee, which related to international adoption and child trafficking, was directed to prepare and put into operation a national policy that would combat child trafficking. This Committee was required to prepare a report on the prevalence of child trafficking in Mali. Moreover, it was to put forward proposals for improving the extant laws that aimed to prevent child trafficking. In addition, this Committee was instructed to prepare new laws that would mitigate the evil of child trafficking (Social Alert).
Mali had signed and ratified various international human rights instruments and treaties. These include the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the ECOWAS Convention on free movement of persons and goods. The implementation of these international instruments in Mali is not satisfactory. It had failed to implement them wholly or even to some extent. In 1988, Mali established a National Brainstorming Committee to address the problem of chid trafficking. This committee was made up of representatives from society (Social Alert).
The objective of this committee is to adopt international measures to combat child trafficking in or through Mali. This committee is authorised to take part in the drafting of the national policy against child trafficking. It has to report to the government about the practice and impact of child trafficking in the nation (Social Alert). It can make recommendations to the government for the better implementation of the existing legislation. It can also suggest the drafting of new legislation to deal with the problem.
Debt servitude is the major cause for women and young girls to be trafficked. Several of such these trafficked individuals end up as the slaves of their masters. They have to work without any remuneration till their debt is redeemed. However, in many cases, the debt amount is increased every month, on account of the steep interest charged on it by the trafficker (Social Alert). This effectively keeps the trafficked persons in perpetual debt.
The chief origin of this debt is the travel expenses provided by the traffickers, whilst transporting these persons. The employers of the trafficked women repay the loan amounts to the traffickers, and do not pay any wages to the women. Moreover, the employers confiscate their passports, and take all measures to prevent their escape (Social Alert). As such, they take full advantage of the vulnerable condition of the trafficked women.
In general, the trafficked individuals cannot communicate in the local languages. In addition, their recruiters threaten them of arrest by the local authorities. Moreover, these persons are always under the control of their employers, who isolate and threaten them. The measures and efforts of the government to counter human trafficking are always insufficient, ineffective, and unsound. Government officials take bribes and issue counterfeit papers to traffickers (Social Alert). As such corruption is the mainstay of the traffic in human beings. This trend exists in both the countries of origin and destination.
Traffickers pay bribes and commissions to government officials to ignore trafficking. If the victims of trafficking are caught during inspections, they are charged with the violation of immigration laws. The police also arrest them on charges of prostitution. These corrupt officials ignore the breach of the victims' human rights by their employers and the traffickers. They do not charge the abusers with forced labour or illegal transportation (Social Alert). It is extremely distressing to note that trafficked women are treated as illegal immigrants or prostitutes, and the traffickers are allowed to go scot free.
On account of this dismal situation, government officials are ineffective in the fight against human trafficking. The vulnerability of the victims is worsened by these government officials, who do not provide any assistance to them. In some countries, the responsibility of preventing trafficking rests with the ministry of social affairs. These ministries view child trafficking from an economic and social context, and they have launched awareness programmes in child providing areas (Social Alert).
Several of the countries are hindered in resolving this problem, due to a number of factors. For instance, the number of enforcement bodies is always inadequate, which makes it difficult to implement control mechanisms. Furthermore, many countries do not record the entry and departure of minors through their territory. The major factor that affects every measure to prevent trafficking is corruption. Government officials have invariably been seen to be corrupt and callous (Social Alert).
In addition to these factors, the lack of public awareness about the rights of children, poor motivation and mobilisation towards upholding the rights of children also increase the trafficking of children and women. Child trafficking and child labour are closely related issues, with the former encouraging the latter. As such, child trafficking increases child abuse and labour exploitation (Social Alert).
The ILO Convention classified child trafficking as the worst form of child labour. According to its 1996 report, there are more than 250 million children, in the age group of 5 to 14 years, who work as child labourers worldwide. Of these, nearly 120 million children work in full time employment, whilst the rest work in part time or seasonal jobs. The majority of these children hail from rural areas work and are employed in very small firms. Traffickers take children and shift them to other places, where they are rendered slaves, forced to work, employed as domestic servants or sex workers (Social Alert).
The ILO prohibits slavery in any form, and categorises it as illegal under its provisions. In its report it was made very clear that children were being traded like commodities, landlords were buying children from their tenants, and recruiters were procuring children by making advance payments to families living in rural areas. These employers engage the children in mines, industries or prostitution. Such acquisition of children for slavery is common in South and Southeast Asia, and West Africa (Social Alert).
Mali's Parliament enacted legislation to address the problem of traffic in children. Under this law, child trafficking is punishable with imprisonment for 5 to 20 years. In addition, there are some laws that prohibit the use of persons without their consent. Despite these laws, traffickers continue to take children to the Cote d'Ivoire to work as agricultural and industrial labourers (Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor).
As such, a considerable number of Malian children are sold to work in forced labour on cotton, coffee, and coca farms in northern Cote d'Ivoire. Most of these children are in the nine to twelve years age group. In addition, there are a large number of children who are compelled to work as domestic servants. Traffickers beguile parents by promising education, training and employment to their children, and make advance payments to parents, in order to make their offer convincing (Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor). It is common for parents to consent to the trafficking of their children, on account of abject poverty. Thereupon, the traffickers sell these children to the owners of plantations and farms.
The buyers pay amounts ranging between $20 and $40. These buyers force children to work for twelve hours a day without paying them any wages. Any objection by the children is met with physical abuse. The extant law prohibits forced labour. Punishment for the violation of these laws attracts fines and imprisonment. In cases, involving labour by minors, the penalties are more stringent. Unfortunately, the implementation of these laws leaves much to be desired (Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor).
There are two ministries that address the child trafficking problem. They are the Ministry for the Promotion of Women, Children, and the Family, and the Ministry of Employment, Public Services, and Labour. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Territorial Administration developed a new programme in collaboration with the two ministries. This programme attempts to identify victims of trafficking and rehabilitate them. It also attempts to make people aware of the problem, and strengthen the existing legal framework that deals with the problem of trafficking (Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor).
The government has established welcome centres in Mopti, Sikasso, and Bamako. These centres receive the victims of child trafficking and reunite them with their parents. Moreover, the Government had taken several initiatives to suppress the child trafficking problem. It has shown its interest in repatriating children who had been trafficked to the Cote d'Ivoire. It has taken several steps to bring back those children. There is no record about the number of children transported to Cote d'Ivoire. In the first year of its implementation, the Government successfully brought back more than 300 children from that country (Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor).
The Malian welcome centres have successfully rehabilitated the children, after their repatriation. However, the number of children who had been sent directly to their home, without first attending the welcome centres, was not known. In August 2000, both Mali and Cote d'Ivoire entered into a unilateral treaty, wherein they agreed to cooperate with each other to fight trafficking in persons. In that year, in Sikasso, nearly ten traffickers were detained by the police. The traffickers included both citizens and foreigners (Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor).
Sudan is the largest country in the African continent. Slavery has been a common practice in this country from centuries. Former slaves reported that the captors and raiders frequently targeted men in the villages and killed them. Male villagers were recruited by either the government or by the rebel forces and then force to work as soldiers or labourers (Dying to Leave. Human Trafficking Worldwide: Sudan).
The lot of children and women is frightening in Sudan, where they are employed as domestic labour, sex workers or soldiers. Any women upto the age of 30 years is at risk, and physical or sexual abuse is common. The corruption of the Sudanese authorities is legendary, and a much valued gift to these officials, in order to obtain some favour, is to present a child. This is the situation obtaining in Khartoum, the capital city of this infamous country (Dying to Leave. Human Trafficking Worldwide: Sudan).
According to the ILO report, human trafficking is a major problem in the East African country of Sudan. The government failed to control this dangerous practice, and it also failed to establish the minimum standards required to suppress trafficking. Moreover, there is no record that the government has initiated any efforts to curb the menace. Undoubtedly, the Government of Sudan has been very negligent in fighting human trafficking. It did not consider it a major problem, and failed to initiate any preventive measures (Kenya; U.S. Says Govt Not Doing Enough Against Sexual Exploitation).
There is another dimension to Sudan. It houses the marijuana fields of Osama Bin Laden, the Al Qaeda leader. These fields are vast and require a very large input of labour. This need is met by the large number of children who are purchased by Bin Laden, reportedly in exchange for a Kalashnikov rifle (Dying to Leave. Human Trafficking Worldwide: Sudan).
The Sudanese government has refused to acknowledge that slavery thrives in the country. All armed engagements are undertaken by local militia, who act as proxies for the government troops. This is very convenient, because these local militia take slaves, and the government is able to plead ignorance. This idyllic situation was ruined by the international organisations, which provided irrefutable proof to the Sudanese government, regarding the proliferation of slavery (Dying to Leave. Human Trafficking Worldwide: Sudan).
Consequently, in 1999, the government constituted the Committee for the Eradication of the Abduction of Women and Children (CEAWC). The CEAWC functions under the supervision of the Save the Children and the UNICEF. This group could not find any instance of slavery, and it was left to Christian Solidarity International to redeem slaves by paying as much as $35 to $50 per slave. This organisation was successful in buying the freedom of around 38, 000 slaves; but its exemplary efforts have been condemned by the other organisations, which feel that such practices promote the demand for slaves (Dying to Leave. Human Trafficking Worldwide: Sudan).
There is considerable demand for Sudanese females, not only in the countries of the Middle East, but also in Sudan. These unfortunate females are utilised for domestic work. They have even been encountered as far off as Greece, where a female from Sudan was identified, who had been abducted and forced into prostitution. Darfur is notorious for forcibly taking away females and making them work. These females are routinely subjected to sexual violence (Sudan).
Sudan was a nation that had been torn apart in a protracted civil war. During its pendency, individuals ranging from children to adults were conscripted into the fighting units. Even after the suspension of hostilities, the fate of many of the conscripted children remains undecided. They are yet to be demobilized and introduced into the mainstream of civilian society.
The victims of traffickers are in general people who are poverty stricken, marginalised, deprived of opportunities or who live in societies ravaged by war or strife. The traffickers entice these individuals by promising them highly remunerative jobs, education and a much higher standard of living. As the traffickers promises benefits that can never be realised in their country, vulnerable individuals are easily swayed and fall victim to the traffickers (Skrivankova).
On many an occasion, human trafficking has been held to be akin to smuggling. However, these are two different activities, and smuggling connotes helping a person to illegally cross a national border, with the object of making some profit. After assisting the person to cross the national border, the smuggler takes no further interest in the proceeding. On the other hand, in human trafficking an individual is made to illegally enter another country and thereafter that individual is put to work in a place that is decided upon by the trafficker (Skrivankova).
Several international legal instruments have recognised that the victims of human trafficking have been either deceived or forced to accept their miserable situation. Therefore, the laws relating to human trafficking should not address traffickibg as merely a crime. The rehabilitation of victims is equally important. Some countries of the Middle East and Asia have entered into Memoranda of Understanding, in order to regulate and perpetuate the flow of migrant labour. Unfortunately, very few of these comprise of measures prevent trafficking or forced labour. Saudi Arabia is a major culprit in this regard. It has a migrant work force that is nearly 7 million strong, but the protection accorded to these workers is trifling (Lagon).
In order to prevent the exploitation of migrant workers, stringent punishment should be inflicted on labour recruiters who entice workers by fraudulent means. Moreover, recruiters should be properly scrutinised and allowed to operate, only after being properly investigated and provided with a licence. As such, general awareness regarding the menace of human trafficking should be generated amongst the populace (Lagon).
The Cote d'Ivoire used to enjoy the distinction of being one of the most modern and prosperous nations of West Africa. The truth presents a veritable volte face. This hell on earth is the favoured destination of traffickers in women and children. Its neighbours like Benin, Ghana and Mali send large number of children and women to work in this country, under conditions that are not far removed from slavery (Côte d'Ivoire. Incidence and Nature of Child Labor).
As the largest producer of cocoa, the Cote d'Ivoire, requires a large, dedicated and obedient labour force. This is conveniently provided by the trafficked children from the neighbouring countries, especially Mali. These children are subjected to physical abuse and made to work from dawn to dusk, on the cocoa farms. These children are not provided with sufficient food and are forced to work from 80 to 100 hours a week (Human Trafficking & Modern-day Slavery).
It is a criminal offence to influence individuals to participate in licentiousness. Such behaviour attracts fine or a 3 to 15 month term of imprisonment. However, the deterrent effect of the Penal Code is minimal (Human Trafficking & Modern-day Slavery).
Furthermore, the armed forces regularly conduct recruitment amongst the younger Liberian refugees, who are confined to camps. This activity has been reported to extend even to Ghana. In addition, 3,000 youth had been conscripted into the armed forces. Moreover, opposition groups, like the Movement for Justice and Peace and the Patriotic Movement of Cote d'Ivoire recruit large number of children, and employ them in armed conflicts (Human Trafficking & Modern-day Slavery).
When it comes to entering agreements and enacting legislation, the government is no laggard. Accordingly, in August 2003, it entered into two agreements relating to the minimum working age and child labour, with the International Labour Organisation. In the month of November of the same year, the Ministry of Family, Women, and Children Affairs inaugurated a week long awareness campaign to put a stop to all manner of violence against children and women (Human Trafficking & Modern-day Slavery).
Human trafficking has been in existence from ages. There has been a recent surge in this activity, and this demands the undivided attention of governmental authorities, academics and human rights activists. It is evident that the extant works on this issue lack sufficient depth. One particular researcher, Laczko, has rightly pointed out that the need of the hour is to search for long term solutions to this problem. The current methods attempt to solve this problem, by focusing on just one of the many aspects of this problem. This has to change and an all encompassing technique has to be developed, in order to successfully get rid of this activity. Thus, the Trafficking Protocol has to be transformed into an all - inclusive document. This could be achieved by either suitable amendment or by the introduction of a more comprehensive instrument. Whatever the method adopted, this problem has to be tackled from the point of view of human rights, and there can be no compromise, in this regard (Iñiguez de Heredia, People Trafficking: Conceptual issues with the United Nations Trafficking Protocol 2000)
In order to effectively curb the menace of human trafficking, the laws relating to trafficking are to be implemented without partiality. This will ensure that individuals are provided with equal access to assistance, protections, justice, and immigration relief in the country from which they hail and the country where they are employed. Every nation should eradicate the principal reasons for the perpetuation of trafficking; such as discriminatory laws and practices, whose outcome is higher illiteracy and unemployment amongst females, non - availability of the right to select a husband and to plan for a specific future, and the absence of protection to women and children from violence (Jordan).
Mozambique is handicapped by the absence of proper legislative and policy systems that address the requirements of prevention, protection and prosecution of crime. Since, 1996 many national and regional campaigns were launched, with the express goal of preventing the trafficking of children. These endeavours were greeted with failure, on account of the rampant increase in AIDS, the continuance of cultural practices that bode ill for the community, the increasing influence of the corrupt and criminal elements, the proliferation of organised crime and the unceasing appropriation of women and children to sexual exploitation and forced labour. The participation of various segments of society, government authorities, and Non Governmental Organisations is essential to counter the trafficking of women and children in Mozambique (Human Trafficking in Mozambique: Root Causes and Recommendations).
The destination of African human trafficking is South Africa. There is a heavy demand for women and children in this country, and countries like Angola, Botswana, DRC, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe, are the principal providers. The UNESCO, while addressing the human trafficking situation in Mozambique, concentrates on the chief groups that indulge in such trafficking in that country (Human Trafficking in Mozambique: Root Causes and Recommendations).
Females and boys are trafficked for carnal purposes, forced labour and organ harvesting. This detestable activity survives due to the abject poverty of the populace. The poverty stricken people of Mozambique constitute easy prey for the unscrupulous traffickers. The latter belong to a variety of set ups, ranging from local operations to international operators. The associated criminal network is vast and ruthless (Human Trafficking in Mozambique: Root Causes and Recommendations).
In August 1996, the First World Congress against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC) was conducted at Stockholm. This actuated a number of governmental and non governmental entities to establish a programme, whose objective was the prevention of the commercial exploitation of children. The outcome was the institution of the National Campaign Against Child Abuse (NCACA). Mozambique, in addition, took part in the 2001 Terres des Hommes International Campaign against Child Trafficking (Human Trafficking in Mozambique: Root Causes and Recommendations).
In the aftermath of these initiatives, several programmes were implemented in Mozambique. Some of the areas dealt with by these programmes were protection, social integration, creation of awareness and rehabilitation. Unfortunately, the problem of human trafficking continues to be cause for concern in Mozambique. The initiatives of the government, though commendable, are woefully inadequate. This can be attributed to the paucity of resources, in adequate legislative measures and lack of a clear stance by the deciding authorities regarding human trafficking. The problem of human trafficking cannot be wished away and much greater efforts and sincerity are the need of the hour (Human Trafficking in Mozambique: Root Causes and Recommendations).
Many countries, view trafficking as an issue that relates to organised crime. This poses a major hurdle to classifying the rights of migrant labour as human rights. For instance the United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons (UN Trafficking Protocol), and the United Nations Protocol Against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea, and Air (UN Smuggling Protocol) focus on the deterrence of irregular migration and organised crime (Richards).
In as much as labour trafficking constitutes a gross violation of human rights, it demands of governmental and civic entities deployment of resources and unflagging commitment to eradicate this menace. Moreover, it has to be categorised as an international problem. All the same, there has been a marked disinclination to address human trafficking from a human rights perspective (Richards).
In the year 1998, the UN General Assembly allowed talks on a convention relating to trans-national crime. This convention comprised of protocols relating to weapons, smuggling and human trafficking. Although this instrument challenged human trafficking, it was deficient to the extent that this activity was designated as criminal and not as a breach of human rights. This prompted the Special Rapporteur to state that the human rights of women had been ignored by the international human rights community, on account of this lacuna (Iñiguez de Heredia, People Trafficking: Conceptual issues with the United Nations Trafficking Protocol 2000).
All the same, the situation is not without hope. The preamble to the Trafficking Protocol accepts that in addition to adopting a holistic approach to thwart and penalize human trafficking, measures should be adopted to ensure the human rights of its victims. Moreover, as a universal instrument that contends with human trafficking in its entirety is lacking, adding to the UN CATOC would go a long way in curtailing this crime. Moreover, instruments, like those that proscribe slavery, which have emerged as fundamental to international law, provide a degree of completeness to the Trafficking Protocol (Iñiguez de Heredia, People Trafficking: Conceptual issues with the United Nations Trafficking Protocol 2000).
To its credit, the Trafficking Protocol has highlighted the important fact that classifying human trafficking as a crime has provide significant protection to human rights. As made evident in its preamble, this protocol deems human trafficking to be intimately connected with human rights abuse. Not surprisingly, this instrument marks a significant departure from its predecessors, both from the point of view of effectiveness, as well as proper classification of the evil exercise of human trafficking (Iñiguez de Heredia, People Trafficking: Conceptual issues with the United Nations Trafficking Protocol 2000).
There is much in favour of the Trafficking Protocol, it is the result of the various methods adopted to prevent human trafficking; and significantly, it has contested the age old conceptions and initiatives of the international community, over the years. This instrument defined human trafficking, in addition to pointing out the causes for this crime. Moreover, the Trafficking Protocol has introduced measures to prevent trafficking (Iñiguez de Heredia, People Trafficking: Conceptual issues with the United Nations Trafficking Protocol 2000).
However, this instrument has its drawbacks. The chief defects are failure to include important issues like the sale of people, domestic trafficking and prostitution within its ambit. Moreover, governments view human trafficking as a criminal issue relating to state security and not as a breach of human rights that pertains to human security. The aforementioned issues are central to human trafficking, and the reason for their not being addressed relates to state sovereignty. It is a well known fact that no country welcomes collective regulation to what it perceives as its domestic problem (Iñiguez de Heredia, People Trafficking: Conceptual issues with the United Nations Trafficking Protocol 2000).
Despite the existence of universal human rights that accord protection to every worker, irrespective of exploitation, legal status or situation; discussions on human trafficking tend to ignore the fact that this activity breaches human rights. Another cause for concern is that there are quite a few countries that do not protect the human rights of migrant workers (Richards).
However, there has been a gradual change in perception, and some rights are being granted to migrant labour. To this end the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights of Migrants was appointed in 1999. This entity has concentrated on rendering migrant rights as human rights. In 2003, 20 countries ratified the Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families (Migrant Workers Convention), which has accordingly become international human rights legislation (Richards).
The Migrant Workers Convention requires fundamental human rights, treatment and welfare of migrant labour to be protected. In addition, migrant workers and their families are to be treated akin to the residents of the country, where the former have taken up work. Such equal treatment is to be extended to several economic, social, cultural and legal domains. This convention has been hindered, due to the small number of countries that have ratified it. The industrialised countries have shown scant interest in ratifying this instrument. These countries are the chief violators of the human rights of migrant workers (Richards).
Migrant labour, irrespective of whether it is trafficked, illegal or regular, has all along being critical to the welfare of the economy of the country of origin of such labour, as well as the country wherein it is employed. This all important aspect of migrant labour has been routinely disregarded by the governments of the source, transit and destination nations. A fairly effective human rights system is in existence, but this framework has not been put into practice, as far as migrant labour is concerned (Richards).
The industrialised and Western countries have shown disinterest in upholding the rights of migrant workers. Moreover, these countries do not permit any discussions regarding the rights of migrant labour. Consequently, the notion of their supporting and promoting international human rights standards for migrant labour is farfetched. Therefore, it is not surprising to note that the ILO's conventions 97 and 143, which pertain to the rights of migrant labour, have not been promoted (Richards).
The vulnerability of irregular migrant groups is conspicuous. Any research on this issue should necessarily be based on gender awareness and human rights empowerment. The existing practice of dealing with human trafficking, by adopting an approach founded on national security and protection is evidently inadequate. Human trafficking is an important facet of labour migration, and the requirement of such workers is to be able to work legally in a foreign country. To this end, a few of the nations have permitted trafficked individuals to testify against the traffickers (Bastia).
Furthermore, some specific services have been made available to persons who have been trafficked in these countries. Unfortunately, these initiatives are fundamentally flawed, on account of their ineffectiveness. If trafficked persons, subsequent to repatriation, have to countenance the same circumstances that persuaded them to seek employment abroad, then their chief source of assistance in this regard would most probably be the traffickers. This perpetuates the vicious cycle.
An adequate international legal system that explicitly concentrates on human trafficking has been conspicuous by its absence. As such, the extant human rights instruments deal with all the breaches of human rights in trafficking. An occasion to include these human rights in a new treaty transpired, at the time of adoption of the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress, and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children, by the United Nations (Jordan).
This Human Rights Caucus, which represented the NGO's, had two objectives. The first was to make certain that the definition of trafficking took cognisance of the fact that individuals were trafficked into servitude, slavery and forced labour. The second aim was to bring about the inclusion of a human rights system into the Protocol. Its efforts met with partial success, and only its first aim was realised (Jordan).
Millions of people are being forced into slavery, by means of human trafficking. Very young South Asian boys are abducted and sent to the Gulf, where they are made camel jockeys. Furthermore, young girls from Central and Western Africa are rendered domestic workers. In addition, poor Brazilian men are trafficked to the Amazon, where they are compelled to fell trees to generate land for agricultural estates. Moreover, East European women are deployed in Western Europe, in order to cater to the sex industry in that place (Skrivankova).
Human trafficking is widespread across Europe and individuals are trafficked from Africa, Asia, erstwhile Soviet Union republics and from the European countries. The ILO has estimated that a third of trafficking relates to economic exploitation, and people are compelled to work on farms, to perform domestic and construction work. Women and children are chiefly forced to work in the sex industry (Skrivankova).
The governmental authorities recognise the gravity of the human trafficking problem. Nevertheless, they do not identify trafficked individuals. On the other hand, it is common for governmental agencies to treat women trafficked for sexual exploitation as prostitutes. Furthermore, those engaged in forced labour are deemed to be illegal migrants. This causes trafficked individuals to be considered as criminals, and these persons do not obtain help and they remain ignorant about their rights (Skrivankova).
Subsequent to the enactment of several international instruments relating to human trafficking, the Trafficking Protocol was introduced, in order to address this problem. A realistic assessment of this instrument has to take into consideration, the extant economic, political and social conditions. The Trafficking Protocol constitutes the combined effort of governments to counteract the disadvantages of globalisation. This instrument was incorporated in the Convention Against Transnational Organised Crime (CATOC). Furthermore, the Trafficking Protocol can be perceived as the outcome of apparent dangers and the growth of international crime (Iñiguez de Heredia, People Trafficking: Conceptual issues with the United Nations Trafficking Protocol 2000).
The Trafficking Protocol has been provided with some novel benefits. For instance, it requires governments to render trafficking and corruption a crime, and to take suitable legal action against the involved officials. Moreover, trafficked persons should be empowered to initiate legal proceedings against their traffickers, and to obtain redressal that is commensurate to the damage suffered by them. Furthermore, governmental authorities are required to appropriate the assets of traffickers (Jordan).
However, the Protocol is silent regarding what is to be done with such confiscated assets. It is essential that no country prosecutes trafficked persons on grounds relating to prostitution, even if prostitution is a crime in that particular country. A joint effort by officials and NGO's would go a long way towards ensuring that the problem of human trafficking is mitigated considerably (Jordan). Despite the extraordinary importance granted to human trafficking, there is considerable official unwillingness to protect the rights of trafficked individuals.
This instrument is more in touch with reality. For instance, it recognises that disease, organised crime and poverty have a major impact on international security, in addition to conventional concerns like warring nations. In addition, vast changes have been engendered in respect of what are considered to be threats. This provides understanding regarding the changing attitude of the various countries towards human trafficking. For instance, the instruments of 1904 and 1910 were chiefly aimed at preventing the trafficking of whites. The principal objective was to preserve and protect white women and their supposedly greater purity or chastity (Iñiguez de Heredia, People Trafficking: Conceptual issues with the United Nations Trafficking Protocol 2000).
This asymmetrical approach aimed at safeguarding the white woman, rather than penalising traffickers. The subsequent instruments, like the 1921 International Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Women and Children; the International Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Women of Full Age of 1933; and specifically the Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others (1949 Convention), despite some progress, were unable to clearly demarcate between migration and prostitution, and human trafficking. . One of the best means of studying this issue is on the basis of the feminist theory, which chiefly concentrates on issues relating to class, gender and race. Unfortunately, the 1949 Convention failed to identify women as individuals possessed of rights and reason. It held them to be susceptible persons, who required protection from the tribulations of harlotry (Iñiguez de Heredia, People Trafficking: Conceptual issues with the United Nations Trafficking Protocol 2000).
Human trafficking, despite considerable opposition to it, is on the increase. It is very difficult to evaluate the degree of success achieved in combating this evil. Human trafficking can be prevented, only if there is the active involvement of society. Since, it is assumed that poverty and inequality are the driving forces behind trafficking, it is imperative to overcome them, it would be futile to depend solely on legislation to bring human trafficking to an end.
Moreover, it entails the abuse, trade and transportation of individuals; which is engendered by assorted artifices, including physical force. The issue is complex and the Trafficking Protocol has achieved some success in dealing with it. Furthermore, the very complexity of the issue renders it difficult to arrive at a proper response to it. Consequently, greater involvement is required of the various governmental authorities, civil society, human rights activists and academics.
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