Human Trafficking

Credit:  Time Magazine

Credit: Time Magazine

“At first, the students thought the men who arrived that night had come to save them. This is what the soldiers insisted they were doing when they ordered the girls out of their dormitories in the dark of April 14.” (Belinda Luscombe, Time Magazine-May 26, 2014)

In fact, the 276 girls were abducted from a Nigerian school by members of the African jihadist terrorist group Boko Haram.Almost two months later, the girls have not been freed. They are believed to be held somewhere in a 20,000-square-mile forest in northeastern Nigeria.

The Time article moves from this one incident to a fairly extensive coverage of human trafficking, estimating from 21 to 30 million people around the world are currently in some sort of involuntary servitude. Victims from 136 different countries have been found in 118 other countries, having been taken there either against their will or through deceit. Countries with the most slaves are China, India, Pakistan and Nigeria.

The sex-trafficking industry is hugely profitable, especially exploiting child brides and prostitutes. Tragically and unimaginably, some girls are sold by their parents into brothels. Sex traffickers in South Asia are paid $300 to $800 per girl. In Mumbai, each sexual service a girl renders could earn her exploiters $10. Women are expected to perform 10 to 20 sex acts a night.

The Time article says, “Sometimes victims are kidnapped, and sometimes they’re simply hoodwinked by false offers of a better life through training, education or a low-level but legal job in a wealthy, faraway land. Some girls are wooed by boyfriends who turn out to be captors. What they thought was a ticket to paradise takes them instead to hell on earth.”

In the case of the abducted Nigerian girls, the U.S. has sent military, law enforcement and technical advisers to Nigeria and has provided commercial satellite imagery and flying manned reconnaissance missions to help find and rescue the missing girls. That’s easier said than done.

“The fate of the missing girls is, in the view of some, a race against the clock. Observers fear that they will be sold into prostitution or given as ‘wives’ to soldiers. Girls who have returned from previous kidnappings by Boko Haram have all arrived pregnant or with young babies.”

Rescuing the students is only the first step in a long journey back for them. So far very few of their names have been released, in part to avoid any of the perverse stigma of rape, which can often fall on the victim.

Sister Rosemary Nyirumbe, who runs a center in Nigeria for girls who were captured, said: “If the girls have been abused they’ll need their education more than ever, partly because traditional marriage may be closed to them and partly because they’ll need to be taught that their circumstances do not mean they no longer have value.”

This Nigerian incident, along with other atrocities victimizing young people a whole lot closer to home, touch my heart and arouse my righteous anger. Violent incidents across the spectrum from human trafficking to suicide bombings, whether instigated by Boko Haram or Al Qaeda or any other demonic individuals with or without connection to any organized terrorist group, are repugnant and repulsive to those who value every human life as a gift of God!

Lord, have mercy!