Human Trafficking on Sexual Exploitation in Nigeria, 30th of November, 2017, Ibadan School of Governement and Public Policy
On Thursday 30th of November 2017, IFRA co-organised the conference “Human Trafficking on Sexual Exploitation in Nigeria” with the Women Research and Documentation Centre (WORDOC) of the Institute of African Studies of the University of Ibadan. Due to a non-academic staff strike affecting all activities on the campus of the University of Ibadan, the programme was finally held at the Ibadan School of Governement and Public Policy (ISGPP).
The purpose of the conference was to present the findings of the eponymous project which started in 2015 as a partnership with the programme “Support to the Fight against Human Trafficking in countries of the Gulf of Guinea” initiated by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and focusing on five West African countries (Benin, Cameroon, Nigeria, Ghana, Togo). It started in October 2015 and ended in June 2016. The project aimed at showcasing the places, actors, and mechanisms of human trafficking networks in the fields where the phenomenon emerges, develops and is structured before reaching the international stage. The project is based on original primary data collected with many actors involved directly or indirectly in the trafficking process, more particularly with victims and former victims. The project thus emphasised fieldwork in various locations identified as “hot spots” of human trafficking in Nigeria.
The event started with welcome words by Dr. Sharon Omotoso, WORDOC coordinator and Dr. Elodie Apard, IFRA Director. Dr. Apard summed up the theoretical, ethical and empirical specificities of the project. She emphasised the issues of research processes on such a challenging topic, noting that the research team had worked under really difficult circumstances.
Ms. Léa Gardes from the Service de Coopération et d’Action Culturelle (SCAC) of the French Embassy in Nigeria then took the floor to put the project into the broader perspective of the programme in West Africa. She noted that Nigeria has implemented institutions to fight against human trafficking such as the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) in Abuja.
The next speaker was Dr. Corentin Cohen, researcher at the Centre d’analyse, de prévision et de stratégie (CAPS) of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Dr. Cohen spoke of the outgrowth of the Nigerian human trafficking in Paris and described some preliminary findings of the ongoing Protection of Migrants and Asylum seekers project (PACKING) in which he is part of. PACKING is funded by the European Union and associates IFRA with various NGOs operating in France and Nigeria in the continuity of the Human trafficking project.
Four research team members of the Human Trafficking project then successively presented their papers. First, Mrs. Precious Ighoroje, PhD student in Philosophy, focused on male sex workers in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). She described the networks and social media used in male prostitution in Abuja. Her analysis was notably based on interviews of male victims of human trafficking.
The next speaker was Mrs. Modupe Adeleye, PhD student in Peace and Conflict Studies. Mrs. Adeleye paid attention to Nigeria-Benin border, more specifically the communities of Shaki and Seme. She examined the border dynamics and how they affect the networks and actors involved in the Human Trafficking process. She also noted the entanglement of human trafficking with other illicit activities in the area.
The third speaker was Mrs. Iziengbe Omoregie Pat, PhD student in history. She looked at the role of the so-called Purray Boys, younger men who have their ears pierced, in the international economy of prostitution networks, based on field research conducted in Benin City, Edo State.
Dr. Monica Akokuwebe Ezomazino, from the Department of Sociology, was the last speaker. She focused on health consequences of human trafficking and remarked that sexually transmissible disease attracts most of the attention on health of sex workers; nonetheless, they are also confronted with other health issues like high blood pressure and diabetes.
The event finished with a session of question and answers. Attendance was relatively lower than expected as a result of the last-minute change of venue and other logistic difficulties related to the staff strike on campus. Yet, interactions with the public that comprised students and academics revealed a deep interest for the study of human trafficking. It is promising for the ongoing PACKING project, currently being undertaken by IFRA and its partners.
Mrs. Precious Ighoroje speaking of male sex workers in Abuja.
Some participants, IFRA staff and speakers after the programme
The seminar audience