an assessment of the broadcast media in the campaign against child labour and human trafficking in nigeria
1.2Background of the Study
Trafficking in person especially children as well as child labour constitute some of the cruel deviations from the concept of societal upbringing of a child. The severe exploitations, abuses and deprivations meted out on these children under trafficking in persons and forced labour conditions have proved inimical to their development and by extension that of the society. A continuation of such abuses and exploitations would seriously undermine the developmental capacity of children, thereby mortgaging the future of the entire nation.
Nigeria, like most other countries of the world, is faced with myriad social problems and crimes. The rate of violent crimes against the human person is alarming Nigeria, especially in this digital age. Child labour and human trafficking are among the most heinous crimes against the human person (Abubakar, 2001). The menace of child labour and human trafficking has crept deep into the fabrics of most riverine areas, especially in the South-South Geo-political Zone of Nigeria. This heinous act is, however, not insurmountable. One of the means of fighting child labour and human trafficking is the use of the broadcast media as well as the statutory agency established specifically for this purpose (Abubakar, 2001).
The National Agency for the Prohibition of trafficking in Persons and Other Related Matters (NAPTIP) is the public organisation vested with the responsibility of addressing issues of human trafficking and child abuse in Nigeria.
According Adebayo (2001,p.67) opines that most of the needs of the children are those that enhance their growth and development from infancy to adulthood. At this stage of the child development, the most important issue is the provision of amenities and enabling socio-cultural –environment suitable for the sustained enhancement of the mental, physical, social health of the child and ultimately society. The seed of reproduction that the Almighty God put inside man ensures the continued existence of the human specie throughout history and will continue till the end of time.
This in humanity of man to young persons has an age long history. In the last twelve years the crime has greatly increased as people are moss-led by deceit or forced to summit to servitude for economic purposes due to dissemination. This act is perpetrated both internally and externally, Nigeria happens to be one of the destination points for human trafficking as the “crime harming a child physically, sexually and emotionally” (Maduewesin, 2002). Uchem (2008,p.3) argues that there are no statistical records on how the media have churned out news on this menace. In the recent times, studies have shown that human trafficking basically for house helps service is a global issue. Also Lutz (2002,p.24) affirms that house help in different places were largely young, single girls of age 14 years and above.
Child trafficking in Nigeria has flourished despite constitutional provisions outlawing slavery and forced labour in section 34(1) of 1999 constitution which stated that every individual is entitled to respect for the dignity of his person and accordingly-(a) no person shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment; (b) no person shall be held in slavery or servitude; and (c) no person shall be required to perform forced or compulsory labour. Sections 223-225 of the criminal code, applicable in southern Nigeria, provide for sanctions against whoever trades in prostitution and facilitates the transport of human being within or outside Nigeria for commercial purposes. Likewise articles 278-280 of the penal code, operative in the northern states forbid and punish the buying and selling of minors for immoral purpose, buying or disposing of slaves and unlawful compulsory labour. In 1998, the constitutional right project raised the alarm on what they called child trafficking and slavery in Nigeria.. Adebayo (2001,p.188) states that it is rather unfortunate that poverty and selfishness in many homes have corrupted the African culture of fostering as it has been criminally exploited by traffickers to subject innocent children of school age to forced labour at homes, factories, plantation, offices and streets.
Nkwocha (2009,p.143) maintains that the press uses mass media which are the channels that professional communicators use in disseminating messages widely, rapidly add continuously to arouse the traffickers the dangers in trafficking vulnerable especially children, they are the channels through which mass, but diversified populations are reached simultaneously. The broadcast media, especially television and radio are powerful tools for opinion, moulding, agenda setting, public debate, integration, and etcetera. According to Okunna (2002,p.273), it yields a lot of power. It has the responsibility to prepare it viewers for social change. Thus the broadcast media plays an increasingly valuable role in explaining, interpreting and commenting upon event in the society.
Nevertheless, the broadcast media’s role in creating awareness in human trafficking and child labour by churning out programmes in a dramatized way, extensive reportage on human trafficking and child abuse through films, dramas and programmes on the broadcast media is a worthwhile venture. The broadcast media campaign coverage on information few people directly experience and unraveling happenings that relates to this scourge. Therefore it is believed that the Nigerian media can through their campaign bring about a social change in human trafficking and child labour in Nigeria.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
I beat every sound minded Nigerians imagination why such act like human trafficking that is akin to slavery should continue after more than 200 years since slavery was stopped all over the world. Unfortunately, Nigeria has been indicted as a transit point irrespective of efforts of the media, government and non-governmental bodies towards finding a lasting solution to the change. The exploitive and slave like conditions meted out on children under the age of seventeen is better described as cruelty to the Nigeria society. This indecent and ungodly act-should not strive. Annually, thousands of children are reportedly smuggled across borders and sold as a mere commodities. As a result of this ugly trend, their survival and development are incessantly threatened, their right to life, jeopardised. However, as children constitute untapped resources to every nation, the incessant nature of neglect, abuse and torture meted out on them in form of trafficking requires an empirical examination. The problem necessitating this study is therefore: What is role of the broadcast media in campaigning against child labour and human trafficking in Nigeria.
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