An ex-Beauty Queen and member of Edo State Task Force on Human Trafficking, Dr. May Ikeora has described the challenge in accuracy of human trafficking statistics as a hidden crime, saying “there is no real statistics.”
She explains that there is a hidden population as people don’t come out to report most of the incidents. She says Nigerians are among the top five most trafficked people into the United Kingdom and that trafficking in the UK is clear to the police but that trafficking from Nigeria is unclear because the girls would start saying “dem use juju. I can’t talk.” So, the number of Nigerians who should get support starts dropping because of the fear of juju element.
Ikeora says the challenge of human trafficking between Nigeria and Europe may never be resolved until the family institution in Nigeria decides to change the trend.
“One of the key things for me is that we can never forget the family unit because it all starts from there. I still feel that there are two things to do to end human trafficking. First of all, we have to look at the family unit,” she said in an interview with Telegraph.
“In our homes, how are we preparing the cultural and social nuances that give rise to trafficking? These are the areas I am interested in. Take for instance, the expectation that some of us have from young people. Nobody cares how you get money today. They just want you to have the money. That’s what makes people risk their lives and travel to Libya through the deserts. It has got a lot to do with what some parents expect from their children,” she said.
Ikeora further points out that discussions on human trafficking focus on “sexual exploitation so much that we forget other types of exploitation exist. Domestic servitude and organ harvesting are also cruel forms of exploitation.”
“UK talks about trafficking from all round perspective but its just sexual exploitation in Italy which actually takes our minds away from things we can address ourselves. We focus so much on sex whereas in domestic servitude, you see children there more than we find adults but we don’t deal with it,” she explains.
She adds that Italy makes us forget human trafficking in its entirety while UK reminds us of all elements in the menace that we cannot forget.”