Professor Lawrance of the Rochester Institute of Technology said that if he were to visit any number of West African countries “I would have no difficulty, within a matter of hours, in finding a place to procure children.”
While the imagery of a slave market conveyed by the Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau, may have been aimed partly at attracting attention, Professor Lawrance said, “it is not a stretch of the truth to imagine where you could buy children, sitting and waiting to be sold.”
Child trafficking is considered such an insidious problem that the United Nations Human Rights Council has assigned special rapporteurs to investigate it for nearly 25 years. The last rapporteur, Dr. Najat Maalla M’jid, a Moroccan pediatrician who specializes in the protection of vulnerable children, said in a report to the council in March that they were more at risk than ever to sexual slavery. “Millions of girls and boys worldwide are victims of sexual exploitation, even though this issue in recent years has gained increased visibility,” she said.In report she issued in December, Dr. Maalla M’jid said that in recent years, the increase of child trafficking has been greater for girls.
Rights advocates say many cases go undetected. Susan Bissell, the chief of child protection at Unicef, said Wednesday in a phone interview that there were 1.2 million known cases a year of child trafficking globally, “and that’s a gross underestimate, because of situations in this context; it’s totally clandestine.”
Rights groups have conducted numerous studies documenting the trafficking of girls and women in Africa, which is often done through deceptive means. In a 2010 report, for example, Human Rights Watch found networks in Ivory Coast and Nigeria that systematically trafficked in Nigerian women who had thought they were being recruited as apprentice hairdressers or tailors or the person who took them would hurt them.”
Ms. Bissell said part of the enforcement problem lay in many victims’ lack of official identities — 230 million children do not have birth certificates, which makes them virtually impossible to trace.
Adapted from New York Times May 8,2014
This evil seems to have no end. Can you imagine what would happen if these perpetrators had grown up in a loving home with parents who modeled honesty and respect for each other? Parents who made sure children were educated–or at least taught basic values like love, kindness, integrity, a work ethic,– and that God, who loves them, created both boys and girls as equally valuable and full of potential?