Tuesday, July 08, 2008

NIGERIA: Trafficking of girls, abuse worsening

Source: IRINnews

*The following are excerpts from the aforementioned article:

The trafficking of girls from villages to cities in Nigeria is increasing and the state is powerless to stop the trade, officials told IRIN. “The business of recruiting teenage girls as domestic help in rich and middle-class homes is booming despite our efforts to put a stop to it”

Girls aged 12-17 are regularly trafficked from villages and brought to the city to work as maids for an average monthly wage of 1,500 naira (US$13) which they usually send back to their parents who are caring for several of their siblings..

“Apart from being denied access to education, these girls are in many cases raped and beaten by their employers...

As well as poverty, trafficking in girls and women is driven by the extreme income inequality which exists in Nigeria, and gender inequality

Saudatu Halilu, a 16 year-old girl who moved to Kano from a rural village to work as a maid, has been a victim of the trade’s dangers...her master forced her into sleeping with him and threatened to kill her if she told anyone.

“I was too scared to tell my mistress or anyone what happened for fear of what my master would do to me and I did not realise I was pregnant until a medical check after I began to show some signs which attracted the attention of my mistress”, Halilu told AFP.

Poverty drives parents into steering their teenage daughters into work as domestic helps, believing the menial jobs would secure better living conditions for their daughters, Ahmed said.

“I had no option but to send Hindu, who is my eldest daughter, to work in the city because we are poor and need money to feed”, said Aisha, a mother of six, who sent her eldest child, 14 year-old Hindu Nasidi, to Kano to earn money. The girl upset her keepers by not washing plates properly and they ground chilli pepper into her vagina as a punishment.

“The money she was paid from the job was very helpful in taking care of her six siblings until the unfortunate incident”, Nasidi said, blaming rising food prices for her decision to send the young girl out to work in the first place.

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*Note the abovementioned excerpts are direct quotes from the article and thus all credit and references should be afforded to the authors/sources.

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