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Despite government at the International and national level taking conscious steps to eradicate child labour and trafficking of children, the menace has continued to remain a reoccurring decimal and a bane that has come to dwell among us. Despite effort of government and international community to stop the ugly trend by enacting various legislations and reaching various resolutions, the daily reportage of children being engaged in labour as well as victims of trafficking has highlighted government’s inability to muster the courage to find lasting solution to the problem that has beleaguered the most vulnerable set of human beings. This research project seeks to understand what child labour and trafficking of children entails, it identifies the syndicates of child labour and trafficking of children as well as the cause. The paper further probes the legal and institutional framework saddled with the responsibility of combating the menace as well as the role of NGO’s in the fight against child labour and trafficking of children. The writer further probes into the extent in which extant legislative enactments goes to protect victims of child labour and trafficking of children as well as informants. However, this paper reveals the cause of child labour and trafficking of children, what are the duties and obligations of government’s institutions poised with combating the menace, and what is the way forward in the fight against child labour and trafficking of children under international and legal regimes. Until these issues are addressed, the future of our nation will remain in the hands of children who are ill prepared for adulthood but subjugated to a life of servitude and exploitation.
BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
From time immemorial, children were highly treasured and seen as precious gifts to their families and communities. In Nigeria a child is seen as a blessing from God. That is why when a child is born into a family, members of the immediate, extended family and community at large rejoice. It is also believe that the doctrine of paternity is deeply rooted in the Nigerian culture, that is why child upbringing is believed not to be the responsibility of the parents of the child alone, but the community at large. However, recent developments has eroded, if not completely the special status children occupy in our society. The once cherished place children occupy has been overtaken by greed which precipitates child labour and trafficking of children in our present day society. Children are being used for all sorts of abusive labour which inhibits their physical, mental and educational development. To this end, the United Nation Organization recognizing the necessity to provide some sort of protection to vulnerable children in 1989 adopted the convention on the Right of a Child. This was immediately followed by the Organization of African Union (OAU) now African Union adoption of the charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child in 1990. In 1991 and 2000 respectively, Nigeria became a signatory to both instruments by undertaking to ratify both through the enactment of the Child Right Act in 2003.
The Child Right Act though contains copious provisions with regards to the rights of a child ranging from rights to responsibilities of the child, the duties/roles of parents and state to the child as well as provision for child justice administration with the establishment of family courts for handling both civil and criminal proceedings relating to the child, it however leaves much to be desired in relation to prohibition of child trafficking. Trafficking was mentioned only three times in the whole of the Child Rights Act, 2003. Thus, there was need for an encompassing law to deal with trafficking of persons, especially children due to the ugly trend around the globe. So, the Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Law Enforcement and Administration Act, 2003 was enacted.
However, the trend continued and the 2003 Trafficking in Persons Law Enforcement and Administration Act was amended in 2015 to make stiffer penalties for trafficked offenders and covers emerging trends of trafficking in persons, the Act prohibits all forms of human trafficking in Nigeria. Nonetheless recent record shows that child labour and trafficking of children is still on the rise, showing that legislative enactments is not just enough in uprooting the Vice as children in Nigeria are still subjected to all sorts of unimaginable abuse of their rights ranging from labour to trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation.
STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
Although, Nigeria has put the necessary legal framework in place to combat child labour and trafficking, there are still some identifiable problems associated with the implementation of the laws. These problems include but not limited to;
(5) Lack of political will
(7) Poor sensitization
(8) Porous borders/corrupt officials
(9) Poor institutions etc.
Questions to be considered in this research may include;
(1) How efficient has been our legislation in combating child labour and trafficking of children.
(2) How effective has been our institutions in combating child labour and trafficking of children?
(3) Are there other measures that need to be taken?
OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The objective of the study is to come up with recommendations on how best to combat the scourge of child labour and trafficking of children.
SIGNIFICANCE OF STUDY
The significance of this study is to bring to the front burner the scourge of child labour and human trafficking, the relevant laws governing same and the need for proper and diligent implementation as well as enforcements of these laws. The study will also be useful for academic purposes especially for future research on this subject, as well as useful for government policies as a guide to proper implementation and enforcement of the extant laws in combating child labour and trafficking of persons.
SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF STUDY
This research work is intended to cover a wide area on the subject. However, the availability of research materials and the research methodology adopted by the writer constitute a limit to the scope of the work to articles, journals and statutes.
The writer adopts the non-doctrinal research methodology otherwise known as library based research. The writer made use of books articles from journals, newspapers and internet based resources related to the topic under consideration, all of which are duly referenced.
ORGANIZATION OF STUDY
This study consist of five (5) chapters, Chapter one contains; Introduction, background of study, statement of problem, research questions, objective of the study, scope of limitation of the study, research methodology, organization of study and literature review.
Chapter two begins with causes of child labour and trafficking of children in Nigeria; definition of child, meaning of child labour, meaning of child trafficking, causes of child labour and trafficking of children in Nigeria, syndicates of the offence of child labour and trafficking of children consequences of child labour and trafficking of children.
Chapter three opens with; the legal framework on combating child labour and trafficking of children as the topic, then an introduction history of child labour and trafficking of children, international legal framework on combating child labour and trafficking of children, an overview of the Child Rights Act 2003, an overview of the Violence Against Person’s (Prohibition) Act, 2015 an appraisal of the Labour Act in Combating Child Labour, an overview/critical appraisal of the Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Enforcement and Administration Act, 2015.
Chapter four contains institutional framework responsible for combating child labour and trafficking of children in Nigeria, introduction, NAPTIP, Police, Nigeria Immigration Service, Role of NGO’s in Combating Child Labour and Trafficking of Children in Nigeria, role of prosecutors and judges in protecting victims and informants.
Chapter five is the valedictory chapter. It contains the summary of the work, conclusion, recommendation and bibliography.
In discussing Child Labour and Trafficking of ChildrenUnder International and Nigerian Legal Regimes, certain legislations cannot be overlooked. Chief of which is the Child’s Rights Act, 2003 Labour Act (Nigeria), Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Law Enforcement and Administration Act, 2015 among others as well as some international conventions including the Organizationof Africa Unity Convention on the Rights and Welfare of the Child,Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography and United Nation Convention on the Rights of a Child.The fight to abate the growing incidence of child labour and trafficking of children was spearheaded by the International Labour Organization, 199, and the United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and PunishTrafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children.TheInternationalLabourOrganization was then attached to the League of Nations. Its objects was to improve the labour conditions in various parts of the world. Nigeria joined the world in the fight when it enacted the Child Right Act and Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Law Enforcement and Administration Act into law in 2003 under the then president Olusegun Obasanjo. Before this time, certain legislations existed in Nigeria.
However, despite the government’s effort both at international and local scene, trafficking in persons illegally, especially women and children is one of the most severe crimes of our time. Available evidence suggests that nowadays, trafficking in persons is the most lucrative business in the world after trafficking of drugs and arms. According to the United Nations, the global industry of human trafficking generates an estimated five to seven billion dollars annually, with at least, a hundred thousand victims every year. In Nigeria, the National Bureau of Statistics, more than fifteen (15) million Nigerian children are involved in child labour while a recorded number of more than (10,000.00) ten thousand Nigerian prostitutes invariably are subject to trafficking as over 30 million Nigerians have been trafficked for various reasons including; sexual and labour exploitation as well as abduction. The current position is worrisome than ever in view of the emerging and horrifying trends to child abuses in Nigeria.
This increase in number of trafficking persons is not totally unconnected to how lucrative human trafficking venture has become recently. According to the U.S Department of State, 600,000 to 800,000 victims are trafficked across international borders every year. This range of figures does not even include persons trafficked within their indivudal countries. According to United Nations Intervention of Children Emergency Funds (UNICEF) estimates, up to 200,000 children are trafficked annually in West and Central Africa alone. The global profits of traffickers are estimated to be US $150 billion annually. Young people will always fall prey to traffickers due to the guest for better lifestyles because of the promise of better jobs away from home. That is why government needs to show more political will than just more rhetorics to combat child labour and trafficking of children. This was reflected recently when the National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons and Other Related Matters saved 97 children from child labour and human trafficking incidents.
Ajanwachuku suggests that Government must put all administrative measures in place to make the rights of the child realizable in Nigeria. He said “as attractive and far reaching the provisions of the Child Rights Act are, if the rights are not enjoyed then they become an exercise in rhetoric.” He further pointed out that the Child Rights Act only remains a statutes without any practical relevance. It is at best, a mere rhethorics.
The causes of child labour and trafficking are many. However many authors agree that the most common include, poverty, greed, unemployment, illiteracy, lack of grassroot awareness, porous borders, traditional and religious practices, alack of political will, among others. Despite the establishment of various agencies such as the National Agency for the Prohibition Against Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), the Nigerian Police Force (NPF), Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) and policies geared towards reducing the cause of the problem, Child labour and trafficking still persists. Perhaps, the problem is far rooted to be uprooted by mere legislations and enforcements.
Richards Ekeh identified one of the factors of the incidence of child abuse to include customary, traditional and religious factors. According to him, most parents resulting from their cultural, traditional and religious background see nothing wrong in child abuse which child labour is one of its incidence. They believe that instead of children to remain in the village to suffer hunger and deprivation, it is better they are taken to the city to receive exposure and training.
Ekeh argued that it is this same factor that is responsible in situations where law enforcement agents who should insist that the threats and spirit of the law against child labour should be observed and enforced, see nothing good in the law prohibiting child labour. This explains why legislations such as the child’s Rights Act 2003 which incorporates the provisions of the United Nation Convention on the Right of a child and the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act 2015 is yet to be adopted by all states of the federation. This is reflective as to why child marriage is prevalent in some parts of the country than others and why hawking as a form of child labour is common among Nigerian homes. According to Peter A. Anyebe, about 82.2% of the children involved in any form of labour activities did so, on the instruction of one or both parents in order to contribute to family income as children of parents with low socio-economic status or poorly educated parents were significantly involved.
According to the flowery big Kahuna of Comparative International Law, Idorenyin Eyo, 70 percent of Nigerians live below the poverty line. This factor has further fastened the shackles of the abuse on children.
Nwokeocha, in his work, gave a metaphoric description of child’s rights abuse and referred to it as “modern day slavery”. According to him, despite the fact that the traditional form of slavery had been abolished by the League of Nations in 1926 followed by the United Nations in 1945 as well as other similar fact that the child who is the most vulnerable in the society is still under subjugation. To him, the sale of children, servile form of marriage and trafficking of children inter alia constitutes the contemporary forms of slavery. In his words, he said:
”It is regrettable and painful to accept that even in the 21st century slavery still exists for though the familiar image of shackles, whips and auctions are not typical of modern day slavery, forced labour, servile marriages, debt bondage child labour and often prostitution are just some of the more contemporary forms of slavery”.
To eradicate this trend and possibly the culture of child labour and trafficking of children is what this work will set out to do.The author will seek to profer answers to some questions that may arise in the course of the work such as ‘can child labour and trafficking of children be totally eliminated in Nigeria and globally?’ Givern the avalanche of ligislations to this effect one would have readily answered in the affirmative, but reality suggests otherwise. The UnitedNations Convention on the Rights of the Child has particularly been criticized as being inadequate to completely protect children especially, the girl child. The Child Rights Act is widely regarded as the most copious legislation that protects the rights of children, it is however saddled with the problem of enforcement.
According to Raji, the almost want of enforcement of the rights is as a result of failure and lack of coordination and participation at the federal level between the Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Women Affairs and Ministry of Youths and Social Development as well as lack of understanding of the various mandates of the agencies. In his words:
Tajudeen O. I. “Can Child Labour be Eradicated? An Appraisal” EBSU Journal of International Law & Judicial Review (2004) Vol. 3
 Cap LFN, 2010. Hereinafter referred to as the CRA
 Cap 198 LFN, 2010
 Otherwise known as TIPPEA, Act, 2015. The Act repealed the Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Law Enforcement and Administration Act of 2003.
 Adopted in Nigeria in 1991
 Adopted in Nigeria in 2000
 Adopted in Nigeria in 2003
 See the Juvenile Justice Administration System which existed over six (6) decade since July, 1946, through the Children and Young Persons Act Cap 32; vol. 1. LFN, 1990. Law for Lagos State 1975 C.R. 1979 etc.
 OmozeleE. M. “Human Trafficking in Nigeria: An appraisal of legal instruments for combating the crime. The Nigerian Law Journal, Vol. 15 No. 1, 2011 p. 25.
 Milena Stira and Nadya kozbouharova: “Trafficking in Women in Bulgaria: a new state” Feminist Review No. 76 Post-communism: Women lives in Transition (200-110-116): Palgrave Macmillan Journals http://www.jstor.org/stable/1395932. Accessed 26thMarch, 2018. 3:36pm.
 See report of National Bureau of Statistics annual abstract of statistics 2016. Also see 2012. Analysis conducted by the Research and Programme Development Department of NAPTIP. See http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_Trafficking_in_Nigeria. Accessed 26th March, 2018
 Richards E. “Child Labour and Baby Factory in Nigeria: the new phase of child’s right abuses” Judicial Excellence Essays in honour of Hon. Justice Idongesit Ntem Isua, Con. LLd (hc) Chief Justice of Akwa Ibom State. Pg. 82.
 US Department of State. Trafficking in Persons Report, Washington DC, 2005.
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