Human Trafficking is a social crime that has permeated every society and affected human beings in various forms. All countries of the world are involved in one form of Trafficking in Persons or another such as Source, Transit or Destination.
Sadly, Nigeria is guilty of the whole forms of Trafficking in Persons; source, transit and destination country. Research shows that many young people below 18 years are trafficked through Nigerian border towns of Seme in Lagos State, Shaki in Oyo State, Gamboron Ngella in Borno State, illela in Sokoto State, the creeks of Calabar in Cross River State and Oron in Akwa Ibom State, to serve as domestic servants, sex workers or labourers in Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Burkina Faso, Republic of Benin, Cameroon, Gabon, Niger, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Mali, Libya, Algeria, Morocco and Saudi Arabia. Others are trafficked in a more ‘special’ way to Europe (Italy, Spain, France, Netherlands, Germany and United Kingdom) for the primary of purpose of sex slavery and drug peddling. It must be noted that trafficking in persons is done through road across the Sahara Desert, airport, sea port and bush paths.

The Act: Recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons
The Means: Threat or use of force, coercion, abduction, fraud, deception, abuse of power or vulnerability, or giving payments or benefits to a person in control of the victim or another person.
The Purpose: Exploitation, which includes the prostitution of others, sexual exploitation, forced labour, slavery or similar practices and the removal of organs.
Some of the countries for external trafficking from Nigeria include Italy, United Kingdom, France,

Categories of Human Trafficking

Girls are mainly used as domestic servants, for prostitution while boys are used as scavengers, car washers, drug peddlers, farmers etc.
Sexual exploitation: The victims, especially women and girls are used for commercial sex works, domestic sex, pornographic production, bestiality and so on.
Labour exploitation: The victims, especially men and boys are used for child labour, forced labour, domestic works, etc.
Organ harvesting: In most cases, their organs such as kidneys, hearts, and lungs are removed and sold in the black market. This is due to high demand of kidney and other organs for transplants.
Baby factory: Young women can be trafficked and impregnated to produce babies which are often sold to unknown people. This is similar to what happened in some part of south eastern states where there are baby factories.
The victims are at a very high risk of contracting HIV/AIDs. They also suffer from STDs and different forms of physical abuses such as: bruises, broken bones, chronic back, visual or hearing problem. A lot of victims of human trafficking die every year as a result of abuse, hunger, disease, torture, etc.

Two Major Factors of Trafficking in Person

Push Factor

  • Poverty
  • Greed and peer pressure
  • Unequal access to education
  • Unemployment
  • Breakdown of family values
  • Lack of education or ignorance
  • Gender and economic discrimination
  • Violence and conflicts

Pull Factors:

  • Growing sex markets in developed countries and urban areas (Sex Tourism)
  • Demand for cheap migrant labour
  • Growing appetites for pornography
  • Ignorant of not knowing the risk involved, high and easy profits
  • Easy in controlling vulnerable women


  • Dehumanization and denigration of the human person
  • Psychological trauma and disorientation
  • Alienation from the mainstream of the economy
  • Disease, such as STDs, HIV/AIDS, etc.
  • Unwanted pregnancies/unsafe abortions


  • Fear
  • Insecurity
  • Anxiety
  • Memory loss
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Terminated academic careers
  • Social Ostracism
  • Isolation from social circles
  • High levels of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Exposure to the use of psychotropic substances and drug abuse
  • Psychological trauma and disorientation
  • Suicide or Death at any point in the TIP process


  • Sexual Exploitation
  • Exploitative Labour
  • Domestic Work
  • Bonded Labour
  • Illegal Abduction
  • Marriage
  • Begging
  • Organ Harvesting
  • Rituals


Migrants are often poorly informed, or misinformed, about the conditions governing entry, work and residence, skills required, cultural issues, as well as their rights and obligations in destination countries

International migration is a global phenomenon that is growing in scope, complexity and impact. People keep moving from one place to another with several and various motivations. In recent times, global mobility is rising, making migration more complex with serious impacts on migrants, their families, their countries and host countries. This is done under very legal and lawful regulations. But, Illegal/Irregular Migration is leaving a country and entering another by a person or group of persons without the legal permissions, or in a way that violates the immigration laws of the destination country, with the intention to remain there. The flow of illegal/irregular migrants is often from poorer countries to richer countries. When a person leaves Nigeria without the proper travelling documents (especially visa) to enter another country, that person is embarking on illegal/irregular migration.

The risks and dangers

faced by illegal/irregular migrants include, but not limited to:

  • Loss of cash (payments for the supposed visa and papers)
  • Hunger, thirst and starvation
  • Crime/criminal activities (drug peddling and prostitution)
  • Attacks (especially on the way by other criminals and security agents)
  • Imprisonment
  • Deportation
  • Death (in the desert or in the sea)

From Nigeria, the victims are taken through some dangerous routes along the deserts and they usually sleep at camps known as Connection Houses.

Some of these known routes are;

  • Kano or Katsina in Nigeria
  • Maradi (Niger Republic)
  • Zinder (Niger Republic)
  • Agadez (Niger Republic)
  • Dirkou (Niger Republic)
  • Sabha (Border camp)
  • Tijeri (Libya)
  • Border camps around Tripoli, Libya and so many others.

The irregular migrants include, among others, clandestine, illegal, unauthorised, unlawful, undocumented foreigners without residence status, illegalised people, non-compliant and without documents. So, irregular migration can be explained as entry into another country in contravention of immigration laws, of that country.

Sending Country:

  • Failing to meet requirements to travel
  • To travel without respecting the restrictions imposed to regulate emigration (bypass exit controls)

Destination Country:

Irregular Entry

  • Irregular residence
  • Irregular employment

Who are they?

  • Overstayers
  • Migrants abusing asylum system
  • Irregular workers
  • Migrants illegally entering the country
  • Migrants violating the rules on sojourn of non- nationals
  • Trafficking victims
  • Smuggled migrants

Emigration Push from sending countries;

  • Survival migration: Poverty/ Escape from economic distress
  • Unemployment/ Underemployment
  • Opportunity seeking migration
  • Feminization of Poverty
  • Environmental disruption
  • Conflicts/ Violations of Human Rights

In Nigeria, irregular migrants heading north were overwhelmingly male and in the 20 to 30 age bracket, although the proportion of women is generally considerable, most were single, and some had completed secondary schooling, while about 12.5 per cent were college graduates.
More than half of those intending to migrate said they were not poor by Nigerian standards.
Many irregular migrant reported that an elder brother or sister had played a key role in financing their trip.
According to UNODC 2009 report, an operation led by the Netherlands police in 2007, some officers joined by colleagues from several other countries, including Nigeria, resulted in a series of arrests. In this case, police investigations established that a highly organized trafficking ring was run by a circle of professional smugglers of migrants with roots in Edo State. Not coincidentally, the leader of this group had a travel agency that served as a legal front for his criminal business.

Demand Pull in Destination Countries

  • Labour shortages
  • Demand of cheap labour
  • Need of menial jobs
  • Irregular immigration status can also arise from legal entry and illegal overstaying of a time limited visa.
  • This could involve overstaying a short-term tourist visa or a longer term (but still time-limited) residence visa (e.g. a student or work visa).


  • Arrangers/ Investors
  • Recruiters
  • Transporters
  • Corrupt Immigration/Police Officers
  • Informers
  • Guides
  • Enforcers
  • Supporting Personnel and Specialists
  • Debt Collectors
  • Money-Movers

Ethnic – multi ethnic

Even outside the full package solution, migrants make use of fraudulent documents for specific border crossings in Africa. Fraudulent documentation comes in a variety of forms:

  • Genuine travel documents, including passports and visas, are available from intermediaries with connections to corrupt officials.
  • Genuine passports and visas are obtained through the provision of false information, including forged supporting documentation.
  • Genuine passports, including stolen documents, are altered (by photo substitution or other means).
  • Genuine passports are used by individuals resembling the true passport holder.
  • Blank passports are stolen and details forged.
  • Other forms of fictitious documentation and false testimony may be used to gain a visa at the border or to gain entry or transit a country without a visa.
Translate »