Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Modern-day Slavery: The Story of African Women Trafficked to Russia

Human trafficking is trade or commerce in people. It embodies many features of slavery. Article 3 of the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children (the Palermo Protocol) defines human trafficking as:

"The recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation."

The Russian Federation (Russia) is a source, transit and destination for people trafficked for purposes of forced labour and commercial sexual exploitation. Make no mistake - human trafficking prevails in "epidemic proportions" in many countries. However, the story of women from Ghana and other parts of Africa, trafficked to Russia for commercial sex purposes caught my attention.

Ghana's [diplomatic] Mission in Russia and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia carried out an investigation which uncovered a human trafficking and prostitution ring which operates between Ghana and Russia. It's specialized in recruiting young Ghanaian woman for commercial sex work in Moscow and other cities in Russia. The Ghanaian Mission in Moscow notes that 10 of the women are in custody of 3 Nigerians and each of the 10 women had been requested to pay between $35,000 and $45,000, in order to obtain their freedom.

According to a report on the findings of the investigation, young women in Ghana are enticed by the promise of further education in Russian Universities. Upon arrival, they're kept in confinement and their documents and personal items are confisticated. Those who prove to be non-cooperative are maltreated. According to the report, "the girls are being subjected to rape, torture and assault."

It's worth mentioning that not only Ghanaian women are African victims of human trafficking for the purpose of commercial sex in Russia. According to the report, "two Nigerian prostitutes were thrown down to their death from apartment buildings." The Ghana Mission in Moscow estimated that there're over 500 Nigerian and Cameroonian girls engaged in prostitution in Russia and said the prostitution activities affect the behaviour of African students in the region, especially at the People's Friendship University.

In my opinion, the collaborative investigation undertaken by Ghana's mission in Moscow and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia was successful, at least to an extent. No doubt this is the case because the resulting report was very detailed and transparent. The report revealed the names (even an address) of the traffickers (criminals).

According to the report, most of the perpetrators of this heinous crime are Nigerians. For more details and the names of the victims and perpetrators, click here.

Well, a human trafficking and sex ring has been uncovered, the perpetrators and the victims are known. The question is, what next?

Justice must be served. Three out of the four countries of interest in the report - Russia, Nigeria and Cameroon, have signed and ratified the Palermo Protocol. Hence, they have an OBLIGATION under international law to protect their citizens from human trafficking and bring the culprits to justice. Unfortunately, as of today, Ghana has not signed nor ratified the Protocol.

  • Ghana should sign and ratify the Palermo Protocol.
  • The government of Ghana should investigate and bring the agents of the sex ring in Ghana to justice.
  • The government of Ghana should seek the extradition of Ghanaian human trafficking suspects in Russia.
  • The government of Cameroon should investigate the situation of Cameroonians alleged to be victims of human trafficking in Russia.
  • The government of Nigeria should investigate and bring to justice, Nigerians involved in human trafficking both at home and abroad.
  • The government of Ghana should investigate the allegation of Ghanaians involved in Ghanaian passport racketeering.
  • Russian law enforcement agents should cooperate with the Ghanaian Mission in Moscow to break the illicit trade in Ghanaian passports.

Human trafficking is a crime that shames us all. The good news is, we don't have to be specialists to help eradicate human trafficking. A lot can be done by simply creating awareness and sensitization programmes. You can help create awareness simply by sharing this storing on Facebook or twitter. This simple gesture can save a life.

1 comment:

  1. Infact this IBO people will do just any thing in order to get money!!! I Just hate this Nigerians!!!BASTARDS!!!!


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