Modern Day African Slave Trade
African Slave trade was officially banned in the early 1880s, but slavery continues to be practiced in West and Central Africa today. Over 200,000 children from this region are sold into slavery every year. Many of these children are sold into the domestic, agricultural, and sex industries of some wealthier, neighboring countries. An estimated 90,000 black Africans are "owned" by North African Arabs,and are sold like property in a booming slave trade. Some of these people are sold for as little as $15.00 per human being.(Anti-slavery International). Indigenous tribes in southern Sudan are frequently attacked by Arabs from the North, who murder the men and capture and enslave the women and children. The Arabs consider it their right to enslave these people, and to own them as personal property. Physical mutilation is not unusual and is done to the slaves not only to prevent escape, but to enforce the slave owners' beliefs. Sometimes their Achilles tendons are cut because of the captives refusal to become Muslim. Others are branded like cattle to show ownership.
In West Africa the old slave trafficking routes are once again traveled by those who would enslave others for profit . However these routes are now being traveled in trucks and vans instead of by camel. Mobile Phones are the norm for the slave merchants to communicate back and forth as they transport their human cargo. The slave trafficking trade involves most countries in sub-Saharan West Africa.
Children are kidnapped or purchased from their families for as little as $20 each by slave traders in poverty ridden areas, such as Benin and Togo, then sold into slavery in brothels or as domestic servants for over $300.00 each in the richer neighboring countries, such as Nigeria and Gabon. (Anti -Slavery Society). Children are sold in West African countries as domestic and commercial labor and also for sexual exploitation. Girls from Benin and Togo are in great demand by wealthy families in Lagos, Nigeria and also in Libreville in Gabon.
Until recently,the slave trade has been largely considered as a phenomenon of war-ravaged countries such as Somalia, Angola, Sudan and Chad, where girls as young as 10-years-old are servants or sex slaves at the rebel military bases. But now, throughout some "peaceful" West African areas the slave traffic is growing. Some of the countries involved in this illegal trafficking include Burkina Faso, Benin, Cameroon, Cote d'Ivoire, Gabon, Nigeria and Togo.
There are also many cocoa plantations that use slaves. These slaves are on cocoa plantations in remote rural areas in West Africa. Boys ranging in age from 12 to 16 are being trafficked to West African cocoa plantations and used as slave labor to harvest the cocoa beans to be sent to various countries to made into chocolate.
A UNICEF study reports that over 200,000 children are trafficked yearly in West and Central Africa. The trafficking occurs across many countries including Cameroon, Nigeria and Ghana.
Reference: ASI (Anti-slavery International)
Reference: ASS (Anti-Slavery Society)