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Okechukwu Maximus Ndianaefo: The merits of child trafficking


May 19, 2013 / Ynaija.com  (30 Days, 30 Voices)

If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at, change – Wayne Dyer

The issue of child trafficking has raised furore over the years, especially in Nigeria, which has been described as the source, transit and destination points for child trafficking (according to Wikipedia) with the nation’s leaders through respective agencies like National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) promulgating laws to hinder and ultimately stop this source of ‘child abuse’ as we have come to know and believe it as so, thanks to western media.

Now, it is interesting to know that every average Nigerian household, whether based in the rural or urban area of this nation benefits from house helps – that is another term for them. The urban family’s needs them to;

a) Do household chores, b) be baby sitters, c) help in family owned local trade and services, etc; while the rural based counterparts needs these children for a.) household chores, b) help in a subsistence farming setting, c) help in family owned trade and services, which can all be termed as domestic servitude.

These children are usually paid stipends which are remitted to their parents or guardians in a prearranged agreement or they are sent to school, most often the evening class version in other to accommodate their work schedules; then some are allowed to learn trade and services after which they are given funds to start up their own businesses.

Yet they are called the modern day slaves and the difference being that they weren’t carted away as spoils of war nor were they sold out on absolute terms or shipped away in bellies of ships. They left at their own accord, most times with their parent’s consent and an agreement in place. They are sometimes allowed holidays back to their birth places, granted permission to call home. Also, their ‘new masters’ are subject to visit parents or send money in cases of emergency to these houses helps families.

So, why this furore? Let us note that there exist none, or efficient welfare system in Nigeria given to parents of numerous children (deliberately borne to help in farming settlements which our present economy has put paid to) or ailing parents, and these give rise to child labour in order to assist them. These children become ‘slaves’ in their birth homes first and exploited due to the economic state of their families.

It is noteworthy that these abused children has helped improved the economies of their respective families back home one way or the other. They have also benefited themselves by living under improved lifestyles and conditions, that translates to being better spoken, better dressed, better educated, better fed and learnt to know their way through and around host families, cities and communities.

IN turn, this once a child slave that had been ‘successfully’ trafficked, would grow to become an avenue in which others like them would embark on to emigrate to better living conditions and life style. It has been a continuous cycle, and in Nigeria, it will continually remain so unless these government and their agencies does something drastically to our average daily income and opportunities.

The Western nations pays child benefits to parents and also to foster parents till the child attain the age of 20 years. Also, schooling is a must for a child till s/he reaches the ages of 14-15 years after which the said child can decide if s/he wants to continue or not.

The laughable aspect on these matters are the fact that if one goes to any of the agitators of child trafficking censure, you will find a child that is not theirs biologically living with them for one reason or the other.

The question now is when do these child trafficking with all these stated merits ceases to be right and end up being so wrong the government budget billions and receive more in aids to fight same.


Okechukwu Maximus Ndianaefo, is a trained Economist and a Business Development Manager of a private firm in Lagos. I love writing and
would love to take it up professionally, and my hobbies are reading, tweeting and watching football. I am the individual behind @2dmaxo and @maxndianaefo.

30 Days 30 Voices series is an opportunity for young Nigerians from across the world to share their stories and experiences – creating a meeting point where our common humanity is explored.

2013 May 19