17. HUMAN TRAFFICKING IN IKWERRE TRADITIONAL SOCIETY OF NORTH-EASTERN NIGER-DELTA IN THE LIGHT OF THE UNITED NATIONS (UN) DECLARATIONS
Wotogbe, Igwechi Hope – Department of Religion and Cultural Studies
Ignatius Ajuru University of Education
Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria.
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This study examined human trafficking in the light of United Nations (UN) declarations as it concerns Ikwerre society of North Eastern Niger-Delta. Human trafficking is viewed as a menace and the most endemic source of human dehumanizing in every society. Human trafficking has become a menace and a major epidemic in Nigeria. This accentuates the issue of victimization, mistreatment and merchandizing of its victims who are mostly women and children that are exposed to exploitative sexual and commercial labour. It is tantamount to lifetime of waste, underdevelopment, underachievement and regrets. The methodology adopted includes the use of books, journals, unpublished works, internet sources and other available literature. The study revealed that Ikwerre Society is patriarchal in nature which accounts for women’s disposition to totally succumb to the authority of men. This has promoted gender imbalance and made women to see themselves as inferior to men. On the other hand, the patriarchal nature of the culture of Ikwerre societies has made men to develop a master-servant relationship with the womenfolk, thereby promoting gender-based violence, with women at the receiving end. There are certain stereotype roles women play in Ikwerre Society, which make them subordinate to men and constrain their ability to exercise their rights. There is a high-level illiteracy among most of the victims of human trafficking in Ikwerre Society that has fueled the ignorance that trafficking is modern day slavery and should be stopped. It has been observed that the UN, in an attempt to eradicate human trafficking and its negative tendencies recommended, through the United Nations Human Rights and Human Trafficking Commission (UNHRHTC), a number of conventions and declarations through its Articles that guarantee everyone’s right to life, liberty, absence of discrimination, security and protection of fundamental human rights. Unfortunately, these declarations/conventions/articles are not domesticated in Ikwerre traditional society. Thus, this paper is of the view that these laws, if domesticated in Ikwerre Society and at the federal, state and local government levels, will help eradicate human trafficking in our society. The paper, therefore, recommends that the government, in line with non-governmental organizations, should promote strategies towards eradicating human trafficking which is still rife in the guise of modern day slavery in Ikwerre Society. The paper also recommends, among others, that in making laws and policies that promote the status of women towards self-actualization, efforts should be made in ensuring their enforcement even in rural areas like the Ikwerre Traditional Society.
Keywords: Human Trafficking, Modern Day Slavery, United Nations, NAPTIP, Ikwerre, Rivers State.