Many states in Africa have adopted legislative, administrative and institutional measures to combat trafficking in human beings. These measures include, among other things, the formulation and implementation of both national and regional action plans by African states to provide for comprehensive and coordinated interventions. Many African countries have also enacted an anti-trafficking legislation at the country level. Despite these measures, African women and children have been trafficked annually worldwide for purposes of forced labor, sexual exploitation, and domestic servitude. Additionally, women and children are trafficked within their countries from rural to urban areas. Misconception and abuse of African tradition and culture have been one of the underlying root causes of human trafficking. Cultural practices, such as forcing young girls into ritual servitude, Trokosi (slaves to the Gods), Wahaya (fifth wife), Ukuthwala (kidnapping girls for marriage), payments of dowry, male dominance, female genital cutting, witchcraft, and child marriage, perpetuate the crime of human trafficking. Some women and young girls in Africa, many of whom migrate from rural to urban areas, find themselves compelled by these cultural beliefs to leave their home and family. This crime has been taking place imperceptibly for a long time. More often than not, incidents have been reported, and charges such as statutory rape and kidnapping are filed against the perpetrators, without authorities knowing that they constitute the offense of trafficking. Although most African traditions and cultural practices are positive when they are distorted and abused, they perpetuate serious problems like trafficking.
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Msuya, Norah Hashim
"Tradition and Culture in Africa: Practices that Facilitate Trafficking of Women and Children,"
Dignity: A Journal on Sexual Exploitation and Violence:
1, Article 3.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.uri.edu/dignity/vol2/iss1/3
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