Is Human Trafficking a Public Health Issue In Africa?
Human trafficking involves using threats, coercion, abduction, or fraud to transport, harbour or receive people. It also involves payment to have control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation (World Health Organization, 2012). Out of the 3 common types of human trafficking, forced labor or involuntary servitude is the biggest type of trafficking in the world (Human Rights Commision, n.d.).
Over 75% of trafficking victims in West Africa are children (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, 2021). These individuals are moved into other parts of the world such as Western Europe and the Middle East (Obokata et al., 2019), they are exploited in forced labour, commercial sex, begging and forced criminality (UNODC, 2019).
According to the 2020 global report on trafficking in persons, 50% of adults and minors who are trafficked are from low and middle income countries (United Nations, 2021). Also in 2018, 32% of trafficked victims in Sub-saharan Africa were girls (United Nations, 2021). Human trafficking is endemic in Africa, and it requires an integrated response to curb it (Obokata et al., 2019).
This year’s World Day Against Trafficking in Persons theme is: “The use and abuse of technology”. It focuses on how technology can either enable or impede human trafficking.
How can we use technology to prevent and report cases of human trafficking?