controversial views

Òlòturé: a glimpse into the sex trafficking world.

Sex trafficking and mass rape should no more be seen as women’s issues than slavery was a black issue, or the Holocaust was a Jewish issue. These are all humanitarian concerns, transcending any one race, gender, or creed.

Nicholas D. kristof and Sheryl WuDunn

I joined this party very late I know. However, since it’s still fresh in my mind, this is the best time to write my thoughts concerning the movie Òlòturé.

This is a Netflix movie that is based on the account of an undercover journalist, who investigated a sex trafficking ring in Nigeria.

The movie with its bits of exaggerated acting, is meant to give viewers a glimpse of the horrors that exist in the sex trafficking world from the comfort of their homes.

This isn’t a review about the actors and what should or shouldn’t have been included in the movie, as I’m sure a lot of people have done this.

This is to focus on the message that the movie is trying to pass across, the dangers of sex trafficking.

It is a hushed topic as no one wants to admit this happens, but it does. According to the United Nations’ International Labour Organisation, an estimate of 3.8million adults and 1million children are victims of sex trafficking. This was in just 2016 alone.

Due to the unavailability of accurate data in Nigeria, it is difficult to know the exact number of Nigerians that are trafficked every year.

If I’m to make a guess tho, 2 in every 5 women trafficked overseas is a Nigerian. The US Department of Justice agrees with this, as Nigeria is routinely listed as a country with a high number of trafficked victims to Europe and the USA. Basically, there is a Nigerian victim in more than 34countries.

Sadly, we live in a country where basic amenities are unavailable, yet the cost of living continues to rise. This forces us to believe we should do everything to earn a living.

In a quest for a better life, these traffickers, prey on their nativity with false promises of a better life. 90% of victims are unaware of the true intent of their “sponsors” till they arrive in Europe, with no means to escape.

They are trapped in an unexpected world in which they have to survive. Survive they do, as there are no viable means to escape.

Limited financial resources and the psychological trauma they experience, both play a role in ensuring this.

When you listen to the narrations of rescued sex trafficking victims, there is one common element. Most share how their “sponsors” take them to a fetish man to perform ritualistic acts on them. This they say would have a negative effect on them should they attempt to escape.

In addition to the Lack of financial assistance, the fear of been killed by the “dark forces“, solidifies their entrance into the never-ending world of prostitution.

Never-ending as the men and women who have been entrusted by law to protect them, are the perpetrators of such activities.

There is no supply if there is no demand, (the simple rule of economics), and these “customers” demand and pay outrageously for such activities. It is estimated that profits from forced labour was $9billion in 2017.

These people in positions of authority provide traffickers with the money and legal protection in ensuring these women are sent out.

This was adequately depicted in the movie when a politician hosted a sex party, where he drugged and raped Òlòturé.

However, you don’t need a movie to tell you what goes on behind close doors. The gut-wrenching narrations from the rescued victims tell a far better story than any movie shown on Netflix can.

I was torn all through while watching òlòturé. I was trying to merge the existing laws I study, (an annoying habit I must say), to what I watched and the articles I have read so far.

It is scary to think that the law has been incapable of doing its job, ensuring justice and protecting the victims. Prosecutions by the US Department of Justice dropped to 230 in 2018, down from 282 in 2017.

In Nigeria, it is difficult to know the rate of prosecutions, if any, due to the absence of accurate data.

Now while you watch or re-watch òlòturé, do not simply see it as an entertaining movie on Netflix in need of ratings, but a glimpse into the life of the countless and faceless victims of sex trafficking.

See it as someone’s story, because it is.

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