Shocking practice of orphanage homes
The disclosure made by the Director of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) that some orphanage homes engage in child trafficking is as shocking as it is unbelievable and goes to show the extent to which some people can go in their quest to make money by all means.
According to Mr. Josiah Emerole at the three-day media trading and capacity development in Asaba, Delta state with the theme: ‘Standard Reporting Template for Members of the Trafficking in Persons Media Corp and Officers of the Press and Public Relations Unit’ about one hundred and forty children were illegally trafficked by an owner of the orphanage home for sexual exploitation, hard labour and fundraising.
Speaking further, Emerole urged donors to orphanage homes to make adequate verification before making donations since many of them have been discovered to engage in sharp practices which the public is never aware of.
He also stated that the United Nations ranked human trafficking as the second-largest crime network against humanity valued at a hundred and fifty billion dollars and that the International Labour Organization (ILO) estimated that 40.3 million victims are currently trapped in different forms of human trafficking across the globe with Nigeria having a large pool out of it.
With this new shocking revelation, a clarion call is therefore being made for relevant authorities to be up in their game to checkmate the activities of orphanage homes across the country. It is unbelievable that those in whom many people reposed their confidence and trust and who are seen as helping humanity by taking care of abandoned and abused children could be discovered to be engaging in such clandestine activities against the same humanity they pretend to help.
If not coming directly from those who should know, such news must have been categorized as mere rumour or fake news and dismissed with a wave of the hands. But even with this new confounding information, it may still not be right to assume that all orphanage homes are culpable in this dastardly exercise.
There could well be many of them who never engage in such odious practices but since it is difficult to know those truly free from blame, it is only when proper investigations are carried out that the wheat can be separated from the chaff.
Obviously, the task can never be handled by the government alone. There may be the need to involve private bodies and NGOs in conducting investigations and in monitoring all the activities in the various orphanage homes. The population of those enrolled in each of them must be properly kept and periodic checks must be carried out while information on those of them securing adoption or any transfer should be forwarded to the government which will then carry out adequate verification of such information.
Whichever among the homes is found wanting should also be made to face the full wrath of the law to serve as a deterrent to others. Children in orphanage homes are those the society is trying to help out of their pitiable conditions, unsavory predicament and debilitating trauma. It is in this regard that everyone looks forward to orphanage homes as a secure environment where hope and succour can be restored to them. Their case should therefore not be like that of someone jumping from a frying pan into fire outrightly when those who are supposed to take adequate care of them are found to be trading them away in a very crooked manner. Whatever needs to be done to guide against their abuse in the orphanage homes should occupy the very top attention of relevant authorities.
Oyewusi, the coordinator of Ethics Watch International, wrote in from Lagos.