A survey conducted by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) indicates, for instance, that about half of African countries recognized trafficking as a problem, and that child trafficking is usually perceived as more severe than trafficking in women (UNICEF, 2003). There are, however, notable exceptions among the subregions. In West and Central Africa where trafficking is perhaps more widespread and recognized, more than 70 per cent of the countries identified trafficking as a problem, compared to one-third (33%) of countries in East and southern Africa (UNICEF, 2003).
Until a few years ago, little was known, and even less had been written on human trafficking in SSA. Three main types of trafficking have since been identified in the region, namely trafficking in children primarily for farm labour and domestic work within and across countries; trafficking in women and young persons for sexual exploitation, mainly outside the region; and trafficking in women from outside the region for the sex industry of South Africa (Sita, 2003; IOM, 2003).
The geography of trafficking in West Africa is as complex as the trafficking routes. Ghana, Nigeria, and Senegal are source, transit, and destination coun tries for trafficked women and children. The trafficking in young children from rural areas to capital cities, especially from Mali, Benin, Burkina Faso, Togo and Ghana to Côte d'Ivoire's commercial farms, from and through eastern Nigeria to Gabon has increased in recent years (Dottridge, 2002). UNICEF estimates - though this is highly contestable - that up to 200,000 children are trafficked annually in West and Central Africa.
Veil (1999) identified six types of child trafficking in West and Central Africa: abduction of children, payment of sums of money to poor parents who hand over their children on the promise that they will be treated well, bonded place- ment of children as reimbursement for debt, placement for a token sum for specified duration or for gift items, and enrolment for a fee by an agent for domestic work at the request of the children's parents. In the sixth form, par- ents of the domestic workers are deceived into enlisting their children under the guise that they would be enrolled in school, trade, or training.
The main suppliers of child labour in the subregion include Benin, Ghana, Nigeria, Mali, Burkina Faso, Mauritania, and Togo for domestic work in Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Côte d'Ivoire, Congo, and Nigeria. Togolese girls are being trafficked into domestic and labour markets in Gabon, Benin, Nigeria, and Niger, and locally within the country while boys are trafficked into agricultural work in Côte d'Ivoire, Nigeria, and Benin. Most of these children are recruited through the network of agents to work as domestic servants in informal sectors or on plantations (UNICEF, 1998, 2000). Parents are often forced by poverty and ignorance to enlist their children, hoping to benefit from their wages and sustain the deteriorating family economic situation. In many circumstances, however, some of these children are indentured into "slave" labour, as in Sudan and Mauritania, and are exploited and paid pittance, below living wages. The traffickers have recently extended the destination of child trafficking to the European Union (EU), especially the Netherlands, the United Kingdom (UK), and so on.
In East Africa, Ugandan women working as prostitutes in the Gulf States lure young girls from their country because they are usually preferred by male clients. More traumatic is the situation of young girls and women abducted from conflict zones in the north of the country who are forced to serve as sex slaves to rebel commanders or are literally "sold" as slaves to affluent men in Sudan and the Gulf States. In Kenya, trafficking of young girls to Europe by syndicates run by Japanese businessmen, and of girls from India and parts of South Asia to Kenya, is essential for the local sex industry. Kenya also serves as a transit route for trafficked Ethiopian women to Europe and the Gulf States (Butegwa, 1997). In Uganda and Kenya some orphaned girls in the care of relatives are reportedly "sold" to traffickers under the guise of securing them a better education, scholarship, or marriage. There are reports of Ethiopian migrant women recruited to work as domestics in Lebanon and the Gulf States who have been abused and sexually assaulted (UNICEF, 2003). Traffickers transport Ethiopian women via Tanzania and Kenya to avoid the Ethiopian Government's employment recruitment regulations, especially the Private Employment Agency Proclamation of 1998 which sought to protect the rights, safety, and dignity of Ethiopians employed and sent abroad, and imposed penalties for abuses of the human rights and physical integrity of workers (IOM, 2001).
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