Boko Haram – another case of slavery?

Posted by Peter MUIR

It was great to see the solidarity and concern expressed by DC students in today’s White Ribbon day – an act to show support for the girls kidnapped in Nigeria.  Something to keep in mind though is that such acts of kidnapping in Africa happen a lot more than we realise.  According to this article the Boko Haram is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Africa’s slavery crisis.

slaveryThe article reports that that as many as six million Nigerian children had been trafficked at some time in their lives.   And it may well be that the we as consumers are purchasing products that come out of the slavery supply chain – children in West Africa are trafficked (that is, kidnapped and forced to work against their will – slavery) to work in the Ivory Coast’s cocoa farms that supply about 40% of the world’s chocolate.  As pointed out in the article, there is no guarantee that the chocolate you enjoy has not been produced using young slaves.  Other products have slavery in their supply chains; the Slavery Footprint organisation produces a website that will help you work out how many slaves work for you. 

Slavery is indeed an issue in Asia, and is present here in Hong Kong.  Last December Matthew Friedman, an international human trafficking expert presented information about slavery in Asia and the work being done by groups such as Hong Kong-based Liberty Asia to address it.

If the kidnapping case in Nigeria did not get as much media coverage, what would your response be? Would you be as compelled to do something about it?  If you are keen to get involved in doing something about human slavery and be an agent of change, email Mr Muir – – to sign up.