“End demand” campaigns, like the one suggested in a recent RH Reality Check commentary, are based on the false characterization of clients of sex workers as rapists, and perpetuated by the prostitution-as-violence camp. This is nothing but misogyny, pure and simple.
Those of us fighting trafficking as part of a broader human rights movement must recognize that failing to advocate for the use of these laws to punish both buyers and sellers serves to perpetuate very serious racial disparities in who we are deeming culpable and who we are criminalizing for trafficking.
Now that the Nigerian government claims that the girls have been located, doubt is growing over its ability to successfully extricate them from the clutches of the terrorist group alive, and concerns remain about the fate of the girls. But if Boko Haram makes good on its threat to sell the girls into forced marriage, will it face any consequences for its actions?
Spaces for Change, a human rights advocacy group in Nigeria, recently organized a citizens’ forum titled #BeyondTheHashtags “to generate a data bank of [citizens’] concerns” about the abduction of hundreds of the nation’s girls as well as the “rising insurgency in the northern part of the country.”
On Monday, hundreds of women marched in protest to the Lagos state government house to register their displeasure over the seeming inaction of the government to bring back the hundreds of girls who were abducted weeks ago.
On April 14, more than 300 school girls, according to the latest reports, were
kidnapped by the terrorist group Boko Haram from a school in the northeastern Nigerian village of Chibok. The inability of the Nigerian government to recover the girls has led to growing frustration on the ground, and activists have also taken to social media and other platforms to demand action.
With as much emphasis as there has been on the crisis of human trafficking recently, there is almost complete disregard for the unfettered demand that is fueling this multibillion dollar industry. It’s time to collectively demand we hold all exploiters of children accountable, both traffickers and buyers of child sex.