Q: Hello Rita. Please introduce yourself to us?
A: My name is Rita Uagbor Eluwade; I am a freelance consultant (based) in London. I work with individuals, families and governments. I advocate and counsel victims of societal problems. I have an MA in Refugee Studies and Community Development from the University of East London. I have worked in the fields of HIV/AIDS, sexual health and social research.
Q: Tell us about your book “Trafficked Women – A Problem of Vulnerability without Rehabilitation”?
A: Yes! My book could not have been written anytime but now. I mean a time when globally the world should be thinking of what can be done for the rescued victims of human trafficking.
My interest in this subject matter comes from the fact that there is not enough research done in this subject area and as a result, there are no books available in this subject matter.
This book, which was my MA research, was also prompted by my experience in Denmark, where trafficked women were treated without human rights.
The book also looked at laws that are made in countries, using Denmark in this case, and how such laws affect the inflow of trafficked victims into those countries.
The book deals extensively with the vulnerability of victims, who find themselves in countries that are different from where they are coming from. Different ought to be good when positive, but in this case, it showcases the vulnerability and marginalisation of these women; as they find out they are slaves, who do not understand the language and the culture in their new surroundings.
This book will make a good read for anybody who wants to see victims of abuse, exploitation and trafficking, rehabilitated back to their communities.
Q: What encouraged you to write on this subject?
A: I was encouraged to write on the rehabilitation of human trafficking because of my background, which is working with vulnerable people.
As you may know, a lot has been said concerning human trafficking over the years and there are organisations working in this subject area, but what is not evident are books, research and events that were done to promote rehabilitation of victims of human trafficking.
This does not mean there (are) no NGOs working in this field, but it means that not a lot of people know these victims can be rehabilitated back into their respective communities.
Q: What is your definition of women trafficking?
A: My definition of women trafficking will be: the movement of women because of their dispensation, which, in most countries of the world, is unequal to their male counterparts.
Women in most parts of the world are trafficked for the sole purpose of commercial sex. This does not mean that they are not trafficked for other purposes such as forced labour or even organ transplants.
The above definition is the same as the normal definition of human trafficking, but it echoes the social-economic issues faced by (the) female gender.
This is mainly because women are very vulnerable in some cultures. I mean in most parts of the world women are not as visible as their male counterparts and as a result of this, women and girls are often victims of abuse, which can be seen in the form of female genital mutilation, rape, poverty, unemployment, displacement, domestic violence and human trafficking.
Bear in mind that for human trafficking to take place, there must be some form of recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of person, by means of threat or use of force or other forms of coercion.
The vulnerability of these women makes them victims, who sometimes fall into the hands of their traffickers voluntarily or involuntarily.
This does not mean that men are not trafficked, but, according to research, women are more vulnerable to human trafficking.
Some of these women are migrating women, who are looking for better opportunities for themselves and their families, but unfortunately they become victims of traffickers who are always ready to recruit and transport their victims.
Q: Have you received any support from international and women’s rights NGOs?
A: I have two answers to the above question. The first answer is yes. I received great help during this research from two NGOs in Denmark. (HOPE NOW and Reden International.)
These two organisations are foremost in advocating and supporting trafficked women in Denmark.
(They) were very kind to allow me interview them for this book. As they opened the doors of their organisation to me, I saw their hard work; it gave me an insight into the problems of NGOs working with trafficked women in the Denmark.
Some of the greatest challenges they faced are financial, they lack funding to effectively appropriate the roles they take up.
Irrespective of these challenges, they developed policies and practices that allowed them to meet needs of the trafficked women they work with and work for.
I commend their hard work and look forward to supporting what they do in Denmark.
The second answer to this question is no. I have not received any other support from any other human rights NGO and organisation yet; I hope they do come onboard with me, because there is a lot to do in combating human trafficking as well as rehabilitating its female victims, who sometimes are ostracised in their communities.
Q: How do you think we, as the people of the world, could fight and end human trafficking?
A: Thank you so much Fatima for this question. I will have to refer you to my book. In “Trafficked Women – A Problem of Vulnerability without Rehabilitation”, I mentioned that women are often victims because of their social, cultural and religious background. That is, some of them are already isolated from their home countries because of their present situation, and they do not have assistance or support from anybody or the government and as a result they are willing to do anything for survival, which often is not obtained.
In fighting against human trafficking, I think it is very important to have good governance in place in the countries of the world. Governance that takes into account the needs of its citizens is very important at this time.
When good governance is practised, people will be cared and provided for by their government, this will bring about security that people need.
Vulnerable people need to be protected and provided for by their own countries.
It is the lack of employment that has resulted in the movement of people from one geographic location to another.
However when social welfare is not provided things become unbearable for people, and they are willing to get out of their secured environment to countries where they will be victimised, exploited and marginalised.
In the case of the individuals in the communities, it is important for people to be their brother’s keeper.
There is need for the people of the world to stop using the service of trafficked people; our demand for cheap labour, cheap sex or additive sexual exploits has a lot to do with the increase of human trafficking.
These people are human like us and they should be supported and rehabilitated back into their respective communities.
Moreover, we can make their rehabilitation back to the communities successful if we can show empathy towards these victims, because they have been through a lot of abuse and inhuman acts, which are beyond human understanding.
Q: Do you think rehabilitation of victims of human trafficking is important?
A: Oh Yes Fatima, this to me is the essence of this research. I believe it is very important for victims of human trafficking to be rehabilitated.
Rehabilitation and restoration of people will lead to their empowerment, which will in turn fight against re-trafficking and re-victimisation of people.
We may not be able to stop human trafficking but we can control it by supporting its victims, who would not be re-trafficked.
These once-victims become advocates of stopping this crime because they understand and know how it operates.
I am indeed passionate about this because nobody is born a slave and we the people of the world should stand to make sure that women are not seen or used as sex slaves.