The study was carried out to determine if family  and  school  climate predict children’s vulnerability to trafficking in Anambra State. In pursuance of the above objective, six research questions  and  six hypotheses guided the  study. The  instrument used for  data collection was a researcher designed questionnaire titled “Students’ Vulnerability to Trafficking Questionnaire (SVTQ)”. Copies of the instrument were given to experts in the Faculty of Education, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, to validate and their corrections were effected. To test the reliability of the instrument, copies of the instrument were given to 50 Senior Secondary School students and the result was analyzed using Cronbach Alpha Statistics. No of respondents used as sample were 1164. The sampling technique used was multistage sampling design. Stratified  random sampling was used to select the three education zones while  simple random sampling with replacement was used to select the four schools used in each education zone. Purposive sampling method was used in selecting 100 children used in each school. The data were analyzed using Pearson Product Moment Correlation for the research questions and Multiple Regression for the hypotheses. The findings showed that family and school climate are predictors of children’s vulnerability to trafficking. Family socio-economic status, family size, family structure, family climate, teacher-student relationship  and  student-student  relationship significantly predict children’s vulnerability to trafficking. Based on the findings, implications were highlighted and recommendations were made among them is creating awareness of the modern day slavery-trafficking.



Background to the Study

Human Trafficking is any action or transaction that transfers a person from one person or group of persons to another for remuneration or any other benefits. Gbadamosi (2006) describes human trafficking as the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of person, by the means of threat, or use of force or other forms of coercion, or of abduction, fraud, or of deception, of abuse of power or of a

position of vulnerability or of giving or receiving of payment or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purposes of exploitation.

Exploitation includes any form of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of human organs. Traffickers may result in an illegal entry into a country and includes internal as well as external trafficking and displacement of the victim (International Bureau for Children’s Right (IBCR), 2011).

Human trafficking involves the recruitment, transportation, transfer, receipt or harboring of persons for the purpose of exploitation (typically in the sex industry and for forced labour). Human Trafficking, as explained  by International Organization for Migration (I.O.M) (2007), is trafficking of human beings which occurs when a migrant is illicitly recruited, kidnapped, sold and / or moved, either within national or across international borders. It went further to say

that intermediaries (traffickers), during any part of the process,

t b

obtain economic or other profi 1

y means of deception, coercion

and for other forms of exploitation under conditions that violate the fundamental rights of migrants.

In Nigeria, human trafficking may include domestic servitude, illegal and bonded labour, false adoption, sex tourism and entertainment, pornography, organized begging, organ harvesting and other criminal activities. Organ harvesting, sometimes referred to as organ laundering, involves the trafficking of humans for the purpose of selling their organs for money.

Child trafficking is modern slavery for children under 18 years. It is a widespread phenomenon in the world in general and in developing countries like Nigeria in particular. Child trafficking, according to International Labour Organisation (ILO), (2004), is a modern form of slavery that involves displacing a child for the purpose of exploitation. This can be for exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or removal of internal organs. Children are trafficked globally and domestically for  both labour and sex. UNICEF (2006) wrote that child labour takes forms and include domestic servitude, exploitation in agricultural services, and manufacturing industries, sexual exploitation, use of children in armed forces, drug trades and child begging. Child trafficking, according to Reuters and West (2003), is sex trafficking where commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, coercion or one in which the person induced to perform such acts has not attained 18years of age.

Child trafficking in Nigeria is a demand-driven phenomenon – the existence of an international market for children in the labour and sex trade, coupled with an abundant supply of children from poor families with limited or no means for education in a cultural context that favours child fostering (ILO, 2002). In addition, ILO (2002) noted that parents’ unemployment, broken homes, displacement, peer influence and poor living standards drive children to trafficking. Children living in rural areas in Anambra State often lack access  to quality education, good health and other basic needs which make their parents to entrust them into the hands of other

family members who are more financially stable to help them train their children. However, this custom has been abused because of the exposure of these children to hazardous work, prostitution and other forms of inhuman activities.

Anambra state is both a pass-through state and a destination for exploitation of children in brothels, massage parlours, restaurants and bars, domestic servitude, agricultural exploitation, street begging and illegal adoption. Currently, Anambra State may not have the means to distinguish between voluntary and involuntary victims. Parents may not report to law enforcement agents when their children voluntarily leave their homes without their consent (UNICEF, 2003). Children exploitation may include also, illicit international adoption, trafficking for early marriage, recruitment as child soldiers, for begging or as sports such as football or for recruitment for cults, all predicated on anticipated financial gains.

In the context of this work therefore, child trafficking refers to the recruitment, harboring, transportation  or obtaining of a person less than 18 years of age for sex, prostitution or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, or the removal of organs. Women Trafficking and Child Labour Eradication Foundation (WOTCLEF,  2007)  takes a  child to  be a person below eighteen years or one who is over eighteen years but is of unsound mind. In this work, the researcher adopts the WOTCLEF’s definition of a child and interchanges it with student.

Children seem to be more vulnerable to trafficking in conflict and post conflict situations, especially when separated from the rest of their families. Vulnerability refers to the susceptibility of a person, group, and society or system to physical and emotional injury or attack. The term, vulnerability can also be applied to a person who lets their guard down, leaving themselves open to censure or criticism. It refers to a child who because of circumstances of birth or immediate environment is prone to abuse or deprivation of basic needs, care and protection and is thus disadvantaged, relative to his or her peers (Elegbeleye, 2010). Categories of vulnerable children, according to Nigeria Orphan and Vulnerable Children (NOVC) National plan of Action 2011, are- children who have lost one or both parents, children living with terminally or chronically ill parent (s), children on the street e.g. child hawkers, children living with aged or frail grandparent(s), neglected and abandoned children, children in child-headed homes, children infected with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), child domestic servants, child beggars / destitute, child sex workers, child with special challenges or disability, children of migrant workers example fishermen and nomads.

Child trafficking is dehumanizing. It affects all genders,

all age groups, races, ethnicities and religions. It affects the victims emotionally, socially, physically and psychologically. Many reasons have been adduced for this illicit trade, including the urge to get rich quick especially from the family.

A family is a legitimate group comprising of parents and their children. It is also a group living together in one house, which

includes parents, children, other close relatives and servants or house helps. Friedman (1981), defines the family as composed of two or more people who are emotionally involved with each other and live in close geographical proximity. The  child imbibes the values and norms of the family that  is  in conformity with the values and norms of the society.

Aluede and Ikechukwu (2004) describe the family as two or more people who share goals and values, have long term commitments to each other and reside usually in the same dwelling place. Ochanda 2009) opined that a family is a fundamental social group in the society typically consisting of one or two parents & their children. It is divided into two nuclear and extended. Nuclear family consists of husband, wife and their children. Extended family stretches wider than the immediate family to include all people who are related by blood through their father or mother. It is made up of  so  many nuclear families comprising of the father, mother, uncles, aunties, nieces, nephews, children and grand-parents (Nwokolo 2007).

In the context of this work, a family is a group of people with blood ties living together and with at least two members of the opposite sex who have socially approved sexual relationship. It is the basic socializing agent for a child.  The child imbibes the values and norms of the family that is in conformity with the values and norms of the society.

There are some factors that may predict children’s vulnerability to trafficking. These factors are the family and the school. The family socio-economic status involves the financial,

educational and social well-being of the family in terms of income, type of accommodation and educational level of parents. A parent with a good job, who lives in a good accommodation and has a good educational qualification tends to be in the category of middle or high socio-economic status while a parent that has not a good job, and lives in an accommodation that is not adequate for members of the family belongs to low socio-economic status, Parents with low level of education are mostly those with primary and secondary education but parents on high level of socio-economic status have high level of education which comprise those  with National Diplomas and University Certificates  (Fekad  and Alem, 2001).Impoverishment in the family appears to be a possible sustaining factor for the boom of child trafficking. According to Ehindero (2003), families give away their children to unsuspected traffickers partly because of their inability to cater for them. The socio –economic levels may affect children and make them vulnerable to trafficking. The veracity of this claim remains to be tested; hence this study includes family socio-economic status as a possible variable investigated.

Family size may be another reason why children are given

out by unsuspecting relations. The family size refers to number of people in the family. According to Okojie (2004), child victims of trafficking may be from large families of between five and twenty five member while victims from smaller families could be those with a widowed mother and her children. The relatively large size of the family and the inability to cater for them,  especially  in  the  rural  areas  may  increase  the  child’s

vulnerability to trafficking, hence the inclusion of family size as a variable investigated.

Educational level of parents has been implicated in a number of studies relating to students performance and delinquency among others ILO, (2010). While some argue that the higher the educational level of parents, the better the performance of children in school, others believe that the issue of performance goes beyond the level of education of parents. But of a more important concern to the present study is how the educational level of parents relates to their children’s disposition to be trafficked (ILO, 2000).

Apart from family related issues, the school, and by implication, school climate, is also a vehicle of socialization and development for the child. The school climate refers to the emotional atmosphere in terms of interactions existing among stakeholders, the schools’ administrators, Staff of the schools, even the Parents’ Teachers’ Association (P.T.A) in the school. Unfortunately, most of today’s schools are characterized by climates that are not conducive to learning. It is therefore very common to find students possessing weapons, being involved in gang recruitment and rivalry. Such problems may lead  to violent acts in and around the school. All these may lead to victimization, bullying, lack of security, discrimination, sexual harassment and gang related activities (Moos, 1979). On the part of the teachers, relationships with students may not be cordial. Students on their part may not relate well with each other. The school climate may make students so frustrated that they may seek to move from one school to another and in the

process fall into the ever waiting hands of traffickers. These traffickers may pose as helpers promising to take them  to better schools within or across the shores of this country. Many schools rely on swift, adult-issue problem solving thus depriving children of their ability to emotionally process and thoughtfully discuss the situation at hand on one hand. On the other hand, when a child seem fixated on designer labels and trendy clothes for school, it is a symptom of an approach that emphasizes external rather than internal values, causing children to rely on shallower means of comparison and acceptance, rather than deeper values (UNICEF, 2006). To test if the school climate can make students vulnerable to trafficking, therefore, school climate is a variable investigated in this study.

Traffickers may approach victims in a variety of manners like direct contact with family and relatives, having agents who scout for potential victims in source regions, sometimes presenting themselves as potential sponsors or potential lovers, presenting misleading advertisements promising jobs and opportunities in Western countries. Traffickers use various methods to  maintain  control  over  their  victims.  These include  using  force,  sexual  assault  and  threat   of  violence. To  make  sure  that  victims  comply  with  instructions, Akinboye (1998) noted that when traffickers draw up  a contract, they often call on a traditional  priest  to  give approval. This is usually done  in  a  traditional  shrine.  The priest takes something deeply personal from the  victim.  It might be  hair  from  the  head,  some  pubic  hair,  a  nail clipping or some underwear. This use of voodoo is a way of

keeping the victim in bondage because it plays on the victims’ deepest superstitions.

Human Rights Organizations, like Amnesty International, Anti-slavery International and Human Rights Watch have all campaigned against human trafficking. Some Non- Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and human rights organizations like Somaly Man Foundation founded in 2007 at the United Nations with the support  of  UNICEF  which  is known for empowering victims to become activists and agents of change; Polaris Project founded in 2002 in the United States of America (U.S.A). known for conducting direct outreach and victim identification, providing social services and housing victims have been formed to combat human trafficking. Besides global interventions, both Nigerian non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the government are involved in efforts to combat human trafficking. Worth  mentioning amongst these are the National Council of Women Societies (NCWS), Women trafficking and Child Labour Eradication Foundation (WOTCLEF), International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), and National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons and Other Related Matters (NAPTIP).

Interestingly,   with    all    the    interventions    to    curb    child

trafficking, the trade appears to be enjoying a boom as it is growing by the day, especially in Anambra State of Nigeria. It is against this background that the present study is intent on finding out the sustaining factors to child trafficking.

Statement of the Problem

Child trafficking may be considered one of the fastest growing forms of international trade with devastating  impact on the victims such as isolation from family, community and familiar surrounding, trauma and depression, loss of childhood and education, unwanted pregnancies, early motherhood, stigmatization, high risk of contracting STIs and reproductive health problems. Trafficking in persons may also have impact on the society and the nation such as bad international image, poor  national development/poor economy,  negative  socialization and the potential for young girls and boys to grow up and contribute to national development being marred.

Intervention strategies that have been put  in place by  NGOs and Government to address the problem include mobilization of government bodies and stakeholders to fight Trafficking in Persons (TIP), establishing of  National  Investigation  Task Force and establishing of National Stakeholders Consultative Forum comprising of International Organizations.  With  all these laudable efforts, the problem of TIP is still unabated. It seems that all efforts being made by the Government and the NGOs towards eradicating or minimizing this trade have not yet yielded lasting results because time has not been taken to study those factors sustaining the illicit trade. It seems that the two fundamental socializing agents in the life of a child – the family and the school, may have problems. These two institutions help in shaping the world view of the child. Anything negative from them may make children vulnerable to trafficking. It may be possible that the social climate of these two institutions may have an answer to the problem of

students’ vulnerability to child trafficking. Many children work under exploitative conditions that, apart  from  totally precluding schooling, have harmful effects on their physical condition and mental health and it impairs intellectual development. Street hawkers are exposed to accidents and bad habits like pick pocketing and armed robbery, drug addiction, stealing, and kidnapping (UNESCO 2006). Child  sex  workers are exposed to Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) including HIV/AIDS and  unwanted pregnancies. When  some of them find their way home, they feel rejected, dejected and frustrated. It is against this background that the study asks, “could family and school climate predict children’s vulnerability to trafficking in Anambra State, Nigeria?”

Purpose of the Study

The main purpose of the study determine the family and school factors that predict students’ vulnerability to child trafficking in Secondary Schools in Anambra State of Nigeria. Specifically, the study found out:-

1. The relationship between family socio-economic status and children’s vulnerability to trafficking.

2. The relationship between family size and children’s vulnerability to trafficking.

3. The relationship between family structure and children’s vulnerability to trafficking.

4. The relationship between family climate and children’s vulnerability to trafficking.

5. The relationship between teacher - student relationship and children’s vulnerability to trafficking.

6. The relationship between student - student relationship and children’s vulnerability to trafficking.

Significance of the Study

The significance of the study could be appreciated against the backdrop of the theoretical and practical contribution to knowledge that it offers in the field of education and specifically in counseling. In the area of theory, the study provided an in- depth knowledge of how the family and the school predispose the students to be vulnerable to trafficking. It provided information on how youths model the behaviours of significant figures in their lives. On the part of the school, children imitate their peers and are easily influenced by others. On the knowledge level, one is educated clearly on how family size, climate, structure and socio-economic status on the one hand and school climate on the other hand predispose students to trafficking. The study will also go a long way in contributing to the understanding of the social learning theory in terms of the dynamics between the environment and the sustaining factors in child trafficking.

On the practical level, it is hoped that the findings of this study will be of help to the following groups of people:- the government, students, school administrators, counselors and the society at large.

The Government will benefit from the study in that they will be more aware of the sustaining factors and needs of child

trafficking victims. Being aware of such factors and needs mean that the Government will be more focused in looking out for potential victims of child trafficking and providing for their needs to avert their being victims. Thus, the government may see the need for them to pursue with vigour their poverty reduction and eradication programmes and focus on job creation for the unemployed youths, so that they can as well be responsible parents. As part of providing for the needs of its citizens, the government will come out with workable economic and fiscal policies that will boost economic growth and increase the per capita income of the citizens for enhanced take home pay package of workers to ensure an improved standard of living so that those situations associated with students vulnerability to trafficking within the home could be well managed or better still, eliminated.

The findings of the study will alert religious institutions and counselors of the need for pre-marital counseling and to regularly organize conferences, seminars and workshops focused on having manageable family size and acquisition of good parenting skills. This will help reduce the incidences of child trafficking due to family size and child rearing practices of parents.

The finding on family climate is expected to help parents realize the importance of showing love to their children and allowing them air their views through workshops, lectures, distribution of hand bills . They will find out the need for them to assume responsibility of taking care of their children by creating awareness. This is likely to improve parental child

rearing practice and hence lessen the incidence of escapees from home who eventually end up as trafficked children.

Counselors will, immensely, benefit from this study because having been equipped with the sustaining factors to child trafficking; they may then be in a position to join NAPTIP and other NGOs in creating awareness  about  trafficking  and the law prohibiting it. They will see the need to assist in identifying victims of trafficking and assist them in getting help and educate the vulnerable population about the dangers of human trafficking as a form of prevention.

On the part of the society, there will be signs of peace if able bodied men and women are no longer trafficked away due to elimination of the sustaining factors. If the government implements its poverty eradication programmes and creates jobs, many people will be employed and the citizens will be contented with what they have and the urge to get rich quick may reduce. The poor image created by trafficking may be wiped out and the society will not be robbed of its human resources.

The study will also help the school authorities to see the need of informing surrounding communities of any problem that students are exhibiting so that the problems may be addressed with collaborative initiative. On the part of school administrators, the study will help them see the need to provide a safe school plan for an all encompassing programme that provides for the safety and security of students and teachers.

The schools administrators will as a result of this study realize that safe school climate is an ongoing, systematic and

comprehensive process that addresses both long and short term measures to eliminate violent attitudes and behaviour in schools. The school, in partnership with the community will realize from the results of this study that school climate should be free from drugs, violence, intimidation, fear and shame because it is believed that a healthy, positive school climate promotes emotional well-being and growth of every student.

Scope of the Study

The study was conducted in State Secondary Schools in Anambra State of Nigeria. The students in state secondary schools are 121,700. The study covered family and school climate as predictors of children’s vulnerability to trafficking. In the area of family, the study covered family socio-economic status, climate, size, and family structure as they predict children’s vulnerability to trafficking. In the area of school, the study focused on teacher-student relationship and student- student relationship as they predict children’s vulnerability to trafficking.

Research Questions

To guide the study, the following research questions were posed;

1. What is the relationship between family socio-economic status and children’s vulnerability to trafficking?

2. What is the relationship between family size and children’s vulnerability to trafficking?

3. What is the relationship between family structure and

children’s vulnerability to trafficking?

4. What is the relationship between family climate and children’s vulnerability to trafficking?

5. What is the relationship between teacher-student relationship and children’s vulnerability to trafficking?

6. What is the relationship between student-student relationship and children’s vulnerability to trafficking?


The following hypotheses were postulated and tested at 05 level of significance

1 Family socio-economic status will not significantly predict children’s vulnerability to trafficking.

2. Family size will not significantly predict children’s vulnerability to trafficking.

3. There is no significant relationship between family climate and children’s vulnerability to trafficking.

4. There is no significant relationship between family structure and children’s vulnerability to trafficking.

5. Teacher/student  relationship  will  not  significantly  predict children’s vulnerability to trafficking.

6. Student/student  relationship  will  not  significantly  predict children’s vulnerability to trafficking.



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