Before the turn of the new century in 2000 the United Nations set eight (8) development goals that were to be reached by 2015, these goals included “The eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – which range from halving extreme poverty rates to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS and providing universal primary education, all by the target date of 2015 – form a blueprint agreed to by all the world’s countries and all the world’s leading development institutions. They have galvanized unprecedented efforts to meet the needs of the world’s poorest. The UN is also working with governments, civil society and other partners to build on the momentum generated by the MDGs and carry on with an ambitious post-2015 development agenda.” (UN) These goals are meant to raise the standard of living of millions across the world. And to demonstrate that each and every human being has the right to basic human rights, they include access to medical care and access to clean drinking water.
In an effort to reach these goals the UN has done the following “Since 1990, almost 2 billion people globally have gained access to improved sanitation, and 2.3 billion have gained access to drinking-water from improved sources. Some 1.6 billion of these people have piped water connections in their homes or compounds, according to a new WHO/UNICEF report, which also highlights a narrowing disparity in access to cleaner water and better sanitation between rural and urban areas.” (UN) Huge strides have been made in an effort to offer clean drinking water to the poorest parts of the world. Huge changes have also taken place on the disease front, “New UN data show a 45 per cent reduction in maternal deaths since 1990. An estimated 289,000 women died in 2013 due to complications in pregnancy and childbirth, down from 523,000 in 1990. Eleven countries that had high levels of maternal mortality in 1990 have already reached the MDG5 target of a 75 per cent reduction in maternal mortality” (UN) Due to an increase in access to medical care, infant mortality rates have fallen, more children are being born and are surviving the birthing and childhood process because of access to medical care. While the United Nations have made great strides, there are areas where the UN and other developed nations have had next to no impact. By this I mean that human trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation or forced labor is an area that has been on the increase and developed nations seem to have the inability to end the practice of human trafficking.
Nigeria remains a hotbed of human trafficking “Human trafficking remains a topic of concern with Nigeria as a source, destination and transit country. Mainly young women and girls are trafficked to Europe and other destinations, and there is growing evidence for the involvement of Nigerian criminal networks. Nigeria domesticated the key provisions of the UNTOC and the Trafficking Protocol in 2001, and has since set standards for the ECOWAS region and beyond, through its National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP). Bilateral cooperation agreements with, inter‐alia, Italy, the Netherlands, the Nordic Countries, France, and the UK, have led to the dismantling of several international criminal trafficking networks. NAPTIP has rescued more than 4,000 victims since its creation, and achieved more than 100 convictions of traffickers between 2008 and early 2010.” (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime) As a matter of fact the First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama is taking part in a program known as Bring out Children Back; this refers to “Michelle Obama has taken the unique step of delivering her husband's weekly presidential address to express outrage at the kidnapping of the Nigerian schoolgirls. Speaking for the first time instead of the US president, before what is Mothers' Day in the US on Sunday, she said the couple were "outraged and heartbroken" over the abduction of more than 300 girls from a school in Chibok on 14 April.” (McVeigh) As much as the United States and other developed nations are attempting to put an end to human trafficking, these actions indicate they are a complete failure as an insurgent group has been able to kidnap 300 women and girls and no matter how much pressure the international community has put on this group, they are still unwilling to release the kidnaped women and girls.
In addition to the crisis of kidnaped woman and girls, there is now an increasing refugee crisis as families are attempting to flee the areas where the most violence is occurring in an event to keep families safe. “There are now warnings of a refugee crisis emerging from the escalating violence by insurgents, after a quarter of a million people have fled their homes. “The brutality and frequency of these attacks is unprecedented," Adrian Edwards of the UN refugee’s agency said. "The past two months have seen multiple kidnappings and deaths, creating population displacement both inside Nigeria and into neighboring countries." Refugees report acts of extreme violence, of homes and fields being burned down and grenades being launched into crowded markets and bus stations. People are being caught in the crossfire between the insurgents and government forces, and there are allegations of arbitrary arrests and summary executions.” (McVeigh) Movement of refugees can be almost as bad as the violent actions that created the refugees in the first place. Refugees move to other areas of the same country or into other countries. This puts a strain on the infra-structure of surrounding nations when it comes to attempting to care for the needs of large refugee populations. This will eventually cause a decline in the work that the United Nations has done as part of its Millennium goals. More people living in smaller areas will decrease the amount of clean drinking water and increase the amount of people that require medical care.
In addition to this, these Nigerian Kidnappings are indicating how much non-state actors are becoming involved with and/or able to influence the actions of Nations. The group responsible for the kidnapping of Nigerian girls and women are known as Boko Haram, they are “militant Islamist group which has caused havoc in Africa's most populous country through a wave of bombings, assassinations and now abductions - is fighting to overthrow the government and create an Islamic state.” (Chothia) These events are interesting for several reasons. The first reason being Boko Haram is a non-state actor meaning that they are not connected to or funded by any nation, they are function under their own beliefs about the spread of Islam and are willing to take violent action to obtain it. The difficulties with this include the fact that it will become difficult for world leaders to negotiate with a non-state actor. As they are not states world governments will not recognize them or become willing to enter into any sort of agreements. The second issue that is coming out of Boko Haram is the spread of the Islamist movement. This organization is extremely conservative and believes that “Boko Haram promotes a version of Islam which makes it "haram", or forbidden, for Muslims to take part in any political or social activity associated with Western society. This includes voting in elections, wearing shirts and trousers or receiving a secular education.” (Chothia) In this case there is little room for negation. Boko Haram wants things their way and will go to any extreme to obtain them. Meaning that any international community will not have the ability to influence/force Boko Haram into returning the kidnaped women and girls.
As of 2010 “the US designated it a terrorist organization, amid fears that it had developed links with other militant groups, such as al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, to wage a global jihad. The deployment of troops has driven many of the militants out of Maiduguri, their main urban base” Boko Haram's trademark was originally the use of gunmen on motorbikes, killing police, politicians and anyone who criticizes it, including clerics from other Muslim traditions and Christian preachers.” (Chothia) Boko Haram has indicated that it is a large terrorist organization that functions throughout the nation of Nigeria and that the Nigerian government is powerless to stop the violence. The one thing that is certain is that if Boko Haram is left to its own devices they will only increase in violence and power throughout Nigeria.
In the time since the original set of Nigerian girls were kidnapped, there has been additional kidnappings that seem to have become accepted by the Nigerian government. “Nigeria defended its response to the kidnapping of hundreds of schoolgirls by the terror group Boko Haram, even as details emerged Tuesday about a second mass abduction, adding to a growing global outrage over the fate of the children. President Good luck Jonathan has been under fire over accusations the government initially ignored and then later downplayed the abduction of the girls, who have become the focal point of a social media campaign demanding their safe return.” (Sesay, Isha, Duthiers, and Carter) It is difficult for the international community to condemn the abduction and subsequent treatment of these girls if the government of Nigeria is accepting what is occurring in the nation. What this indicates is that there is a national and/or government stamp of approval for the kidnappings. While the government has not come out and stated specifically that they approve of the actions, their inaction is indicative of the fact that there is a silent agreement that these actions are acceptable.
“Islamic terror group Boko Haram abducted more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls, as its leader claims, the kidnappers could fulfill their reported threat to “sell” the girls into slavery by tapping that nation’s thriving human-trafficking market, experts say. On Monday, the French news agency AFP reported that the leader of Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau, had claimed responsibility for the gunpoint abduction of the schoolgirls from a secondary school in the village of Chibok in northeast Nigeria on April 14, and threatened to “sell them in the market.” The report, which AFP said was based on a videotaped address by Shekau, could not immediately be verified by NBC News.” (Boko Haram Could Make Good on Threat to 'Sell' Nigerian Girls - NBC News)
If this information is true, and there is no reason to believe that it is faulty these girls will be sold into the commercial sex industry so that Boko Haram can fund its terror operations.
Sex slavery includes becoming “slaves or child brides sold for a pittance in the markets across the globe if they are not rescued soon, humanitarian experts say.
“While boys abducted in Nigeria and other war-torn African countries face the misery of a life where they are forced to become beggars, miners or child soldiers, girls like the nearly 300 mainly Christian teens abducted by the Boko Haram last month are more likely to be dispersed throughout the continent, Russia, the Middle East and even Europe, sold for a few dollars and forced to become prostitutes. Some escape, and make it back to their villages, while others are forced into the sex trade and exposed to brutality and disease.
"We can safely assume that the abducted girls have been raped by their captors, if not worse," Rona Peligal, deputy director for the Africa Division of Human Rights Watch, told FoxNews.com. "If they return home, they could be traumatized and stigmatized if they are known to be raped, pregnant or with child from their abductors. What happens if they’re trafficked would likely pale by comparison."
"We can safely assume that the abducted girls have been raped by their captors, if not worse."
- Rona Peligal, Human Rights Watch
According to Red24, a South Africa-based crisis management firm, there are more than 9,000 kidnappings annually in sub-Saharan Africa, with Nigeria accounting for more than two-thirds of them. The firm estimates that the number of child abductions could be in the thousands with many children being abducted to become child soldiers, slaves, prostitutes or child brides.” (Chiaramonte)
Sex slavery falls into the broader category of human trafficking. “Article 3, paragraph (a) of the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons defines Trafficking in Persons as the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labor or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs” (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime)
Women and children are either conned into entering into human trafficking, such as accepting an offer from men that will bring them to the United States(or other nation) for the purpose of working, or as Nigeria has shown some victims are taken by force. The FBI has also jumped into policing human trafficking activities “The FBI has stepped up its efforts to disrupt human trafficking operations worldwide and to free its victims. These efforts are focused on combating the exploitation of individuals who work in labor industries, such as agriculture and domestic service, and who are forced into prostitution and/or slave labor.” (FBI) It should also be understood that while the U.S. May be a destination nation for victims of human trafficking, American’s are also falling victims to human trafficking. “According to law enforcement, human trafficking is becoming one of the most lucrative criminal businesses in this country.” (Janavel)
There are many factors that have caused the rise in human trafficking, part of it is the fact that a drug can only be sold once, and eventually more will have to be produced. With human trafficking the victim can be forced to service hundreds of john’s during the period of enslavement. For those of you that believe that this is just a problem that is occurring in 3rd world nations and/or larger cities, “there is a lot of factors that play into making Myrtle Beach a prime area for trafficking; like the transient population during the summer months, as well as proximity to i-95, and its location right in the middle of New York and Miami, which she says make up the human trafficking tunnel.” (Janavel) Human trafficking is a crime that has an impact on everyone and is even occurring in our area. That foreign girl that is a server at your favorite eating establishment may have been trafficked and forced to work for little or no money. Prostitution that is occurring may be the impact of human trafficking. The fact of the patter is that human trafficking is existing, it’s occurring across the world and it’s a transnational crime that will require all law enforcement agencies across the world to work together to end trafficking. As global citizens we are also responsible for understanding what human trafficking is and how to stop it.
General Information on Nigeria:
This information can be found at http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/220358.pdf:
“Nigeria is a federal republic composed of 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). In 2010 then Vice President Good luck Jonathan, of the governing Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), assumed the presidency following the death of President Yar’Adua. In 2011 President Jonathan was elected as president to a four-year term, along with Vice President Mohammed Namadi Sambo, also of the PDP” (Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2013, NIGERIA)
“Other serious human rights problems included vigilante killings; prolonged pretrial detention; denial of fair public trial; executive influence on the judiciary; infringements on citizens’ privacy rights; restrictions on the freedoms of speech, press, assembly, religion, and movement; official corruption; violence against women; child abuse; female genital mutilation/cutting (FMG/C); infanticide; sexual exploitation of children; trafficking in persons; discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, ethnicity, regional origin, religion, and disability; forced and bonded labor; and child labor.” (Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2013, NIGERIA)
Human trafficking at least in Nigeria is based around the limited government. Without a stable government that is no method that can easily confront the legal issues that are occurring in Nigeria. Boko Haram has become a military force within Nigeria that will not be stopped without some sort of international intervention.
"Boko Haram Could Make Good on Threat to 'Sell' Nigerian Girls - NBC News." NBC News. http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/missing-nigeria-schoolgirls/boko-haram-could-make-good-threat-sell-nigerian-girls-n97796 (accessed May 23, 2014).
Chiaramonte, Perry. "Girls held by Boko Haram face auction, life as sex slaves if rescue fails." Fox News. http://www.foxnews.com/world/2014/05/08/girls-held-by-boko-haram-face-auction-life-as-sex-slaves-if-rescue-fails/ (accessed May 27, 2014).
Chothia, Farouk . "Who are Nigeria's Boko Haram Islamists?." BBC News. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-13809501 (accessed May 23, 2014).
Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2013, NIGERIA. Washington, D.C.: United States Department of State, 2013.
FBI. "Human Trafficking—FBI Initiatives." FBI. http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/investigate/civilrights/human_trafficking/initiatives (accessed May 24, 2014).
Janavel, AJ . "SPECIAL REPORT: Fighting against human trafficking along the Grand Strand." SPECIAL REPORT: Fighting against human trafficking along the Gra. http://www.wbtw.com/story/24812090/fighting-against-human-trafficking-along-the-grand-strand (accessed May 27, 2014).
McVeigh, Tracy. "Michelle Obama raises pressure over kidnapped schoolgirls." The Observer. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/may/10/michelle-obama-nigeria-presidential-address (accessed May 23, 2014).
Sesay, Isha, Vlad Duthiers, and Chelsea J. Carter. "Nigeria's government defends its actions as more girls are abducted." CNN. http://www.cnn.com/2014/05/06/world/africa/nigeria-abducted-girls/ (accessed May 24, 2014).
"United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime." Human trafficking and smuggling of migrants. http://www.unodc.org/nigeria/en/human-trafficking-and-smuggling-of-migrants.html (accessed May 23, 2014).
"United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime." What is Human Trafficking? http://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/human-trafficking/what-is-human-trafficking.html?ref=menuside (accessed May 26, 2014).