Presentation Details

The Second International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities

In their Own Voices: Narratives of Nigerian Women Trafficked into the Global Sex Industry

Patience Elabor-Idemudia.

According to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, human trafficking or illegal movement of people by intermediaries (traffickers) is now a multi-billion dollar business (estimated at 5-7 billion dollars annually). Traffickers recruit victims, who, like commodities, are smuggled within and across borders, sold and then exploited under the threat of violence. Generally, the preferred destinations are industrialized countries in Europe, North America, Australia and Asia. Often, Southeast Asian women and women from Central and Eastern Europe are trafficked to North America, Australia and other Southeast Asian countries and African women are trafficked to Western Europe (specifically Italy, Belgium Sweden and the Netherlands) and into prostitution and as indentured workers. Increased economic hardship in various developing countries combined with onerous obstacles to legal migration, have coincided with increases in the number of trafficking cases.
In this paper, I examine the African dimension of trafficking with a focus on Nigeria as a case study. I use the narratives of ten deported Nigerian women whom I interviewed during a four months field research in Nigeria in 2002 to explore how through women’s narratives, we can gain better understanding of the new forces of economic transformation that are significantly altering the lives of women and their families in Africa and beyond. Based on my findings, I suggest ways in which law enforcement agents can ensure that the human rights of trafficked women are upheld when being interrogated.


Patience Elabor-Idemudia  (Canada)
Associate Professor
University of Saskatchewan

Dr. Patience Elabor-Idemudia teaches and researches in the areas of Migration, Equity studies, Development, Gender and families studies. She has authored journal articles and book chapters on Immigrant women, human trafficking, equity issues and economic restructuring. Her current research is on global trafficking of women in Australia, Canada and Nigeria.

  • Trafficking and Smuggling
  • Illegal Movement
  • Trafficked women
  • Traffickers
  • African Woman and families
  • Trafficking in Nigeria
  • Indentured work
  • Prostitution
  • Law enforcement
  • Human Rights

(30 min. Conference Paper, English)