Recently, we have seen the revival of the once thriving slave trade routes across West Africa, after a lapse of 25 years. Slavers have reappeared following the old slave trade routes, except that trucks, jeeps and modern four-wheel drive vehicles and, on occasions, aircraft, have replaced the camels. The slavers often carry mobile telephones.
Some things, however, have not changed. Cunning, deceit, the use of drugs to subdue the children and the whip still remain part of the essential equipment of the professional slaver.
The trade involves most states in sub-Saharan West Africa.
The children are kidnapped or purchased for $20 - $70 each by slavers in poorer states, such as Benin and Togo, and sold into slavery in sex dens or as unpaid domestic servants for $350.00 each in wealthier oil-rich states, such as Nigeria and Gabon.
These children are bought and sold as slaves. They are denied an education, the chance to play or to use toys like other children, and the right to a future. Their lives are at the mercy of their masters, and suicide is often the only escape.
The material in this report is based on a Mission to West Africa by the Society's Secretary-General, supplemented by material from Cleophas Mally of WAO-Afrique.
THE SOCIETY IN ACTION
The Society, in discharging its historic role, is currently working for the suppression of the slave trade in West Africa and the rescue of slave children.