Police in Nigeria are cracking down on human traffickers. In one case, a truck used for shipping fish was stopped in Lagos, the capital. Inside were sixty-four children. Most were young girls and none was older than fourteen. In another incident, Nigerian authorities raided an orphanage on suspicions it was being used as a front for child-trafficking.
Robert Limlin is head of the United Nations Children's Fund's child protection program in Nigeria. He says, child trafficking in Nigeria is a serious problem:
"The situation of child trafficking is an old phenomenon, which is being fueled by poverty, including unemployment and child labor that is rampant in some parts of Nigeria. And of course, it's being fueled also by the trade around prostitution."
The situation in Nigeria is not unique. Each year, an estimated six-hundred-thousand to eight-hundred-thousand people, mostly women and children, are trafficked across international borders. John Miller, is director of the U.S. State Department office that monitors human trafficking. He says there are many forms of exploitation:
"The categories of slavery [are] sex slavery, domestic servitude slavery, factory slavery, farm slavery, child soldier slavery, [and] camel jockey slavery. We believe, and I think most observers believe, the biggest category is sex slavery."
Since 2001, the U.S. has committed nearly three-hundred-million dollars to anti-human trafficking programs around the world. The U.S. is also helping other governments develop laws to combat such abuse, create special law enforcement units, administer anti-trafficking training programs and help rescue victims. President George W. Bush says, "Human life is the gift of our Creator, and it should never be for sale."
The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States government.