Urgent international collaboration is essential to stop the alarming rise of human trafficking in Africa.

1 Mon Ago 308
Urgent international collaboration is essential to stop the alarming rise of human trafficking in Africa.

By Kassahun Chanie

Along the migrant routes to Europe and the Middle East, a vast increasing number of Africans are being trafficked and exploited. In West Africa, there is an increase in both human trafficking and migrant smuggling. According to the Nigerian Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, more than 15,000 Nigerian women and girls who were attempting to travel to Europe are now stuck in Mali (NAPTIP).

West African experts claim that little is known regarding prosecutions in spite of evidence of rampant human trafficking and contemporary slavery. According to the report, many human traffickers have become more confident in their ability to trap victims with the promise of a better life in Europe due to the rareness of prosecutions.

However, there are several risks on the way to Europe. “There was no water, no food; everything was so difficult because when someone is thirsty, you have to beg for urine to take just to quench the thirst,” Joyce Vincent, one of the survivors, told DW. A similar story was told by another Nigerian victim of human trafficking, Ijeoma Faith, before the International Organization for Migration saved her life.

“Some of us are grateful to God that we did not die. A portion of us perished in route. It was not a two-day, three-day, or even month-long journey. All we could do to support ourselves was become prostitutes”, she said to DW. West African countries including Nigeria, Niger, Mali, and Senegal account for a large portion of Africa's human trafficking victims and survivors. Some travel by land crossing the Sahara Desert to Libya and then by sea to Europe.

The tragedy of human trafficking is limited to West Africa but also East Africans too. Though it is manifested in many parts of Africa, Kenya and Djibouti are among routes for the endless suffering of Africans. For its anti-trafficking initiatives, the government of Kenya frequently solicited feedback from survivors, especially those who had been taken advantage of in Gulf States.  In a few crucial areas, nevertheless, the government fell short of the requirements.

The availability and caliber of protection services for victims—especially adults—remain restricted.  The majority of victim assistance, including all shelter services, were still provided by civil society, as the government did not adequately fund or offer in-kind support for these initiatives. Scholars suggest collective commitment is vital to redress it so as to rescue young and productive Africans.

Law enforcement action against allegedly involved officials was not reported by the government, despite persistent and serious suspicions about official cooperation in trafficking offenses that hampered victim identification and law enforcement efforts. International law enforcement organizations are collaborating to combat human trafficking through programs like Interpol-Afripol Operation.