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INFLUENCE OF CHILD TRAFFICKING ON PERSONALITY AND ACADEMIC ADJUSTMENT AMONG JUNIOR SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS IN EDO STATE, NIGERIA
1.1 Background to the Study
All over the world, the birth of a child is a thing of joy. Children therefore occupy a special position in the life of any family or nation. In African tradition as well as Nigeria and Edo state in particular, the importance of children cannot be over emphasized. In the old days, the task of caring and bringing up a child was not only that of the parents, but also the entire community. In those days parents and guardians treat their children with much love and affection. They fended for the children, give attention to their needs, and protect their interests in the cultural and social lives of the community. The above fact is without prejudice to the many forces and conditions in our society today, which violate the complete development of children and the unfolding of their potentials. One of these conditions that militate against the well – being of the child these days is child trafficking (Odigie & Chinenye 2008)
Child trafficking is a phenomenon that is currently generating a lot of concern globally, in African countries like Nigeria and Edo State in particular, where it is highly prevalent. It is the third largest criminal activity in the world today after arms and drug trafficking (Tola, 2008). In the last decade, child trafficking has considerably increased throughout the world and most especially in Nigeria. Every year, millions of children are misled or forced to submit to servitude. The United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (2000), recognized children‟s rights, and has provided a legal basis to combat child trafficking. But their scope is limited by the lack of a clear and publicly accepted definition of child trafficking in West Africa, where the terms “trafficking”, “abduction” or “Sales of children” have different meanings in different countries.
The United Nations Palermo Protocol (2000), with its definition of trafficking, provides useful guidelines for law reforms and the criminalization of this practice. According to Article 3
(a) of the protocol, trafficking in persons shall mean the illegal recruitment, transportation and transfer of persons especially less than 18 years for the purpose of exploitation. By this definition, trafficking in persons is therefore, envisaged as the transfer of persons by fraudulent
means for exploitative purposes. According to United Nations Children‟s Fund (UNICEF) (2007), children are trafficked for the purpose of domestic services, prostitution and other forms of exploitative labour (UNICEF, 2007). There has been a serious concern about the causes of child trafficking in Africa as a whole and Nigeria as a country and Edo State in particular. UNICEF (2007) has identified poverty, large family size, and rapid urbanization among others as the major factors why many Nigerian children and Edo State in particular are vulnerable to trafficking.
In recent times, child trafficking has come to be considered as a social problem of significant scope, which had attracted much international attention and interest. Child trafficking does not only exist in Edo State in Nigeria, but is a global issue that has cut across all socio – economic groups as reported by United Nations Children‟s Fund (UNICEF, 2002). Furthermore, the search for greener pasture or white collar jobs in the cities resulted in a massive movement from rural areas to the urban centres, therefore, most parents engage in daily pursuit without regarding the conditions their children have been subjected to. Child trafficking may affect the personality of the victims, which may lead to the manifestation of certain personality traits and disorders.
Personality is the unique psychological qualities of an individual that influences a variety of characteristic behaviour patterns (both overt and covert) across different situations and over
time (Gerrig & Zimbardo, 2002). Personality is the characteristic way that a person thinks, feels, and behaves; the relatively stable and predictable part of a person‟s thought and behaviour, it includes conscious attitudes, values, and styles as well as unconscious conflicts and defense mechanisms (Miller & Keane, 2003). According to Nolen-Hoeksema (2011), personality disorders are sets of disorders that are inflexible and maladaptive and cause either functional impairment or subjective distress and that some of such disorders may include depression and psychological stress. Auerbach and Gramling (2009), believed that certain personality disorders such as depression and psychological stress may present an unpleasant state of emotional and physiological arousal that people experience in situations that they perceive as dangerous or threatening to their well-being. These victims that are now in schools may be having flashbacks of their unpleasant past experiences which may eventually affect their mental ability and concentration in school. Cohen (2009), opined that personality traits such as depression may give rise to mental illnesses in which a person experiences deep, unshakeable sadness and diminished interest in nearly all things including learning.
Child trafficking may affect students‟ academic adjustment, which may lead to total disruption of teaching and learning in school. Academic adjustment means to fit in, modify, or to respond to teaching and learning in the school. Therefore, academic adjustment according to Olagunju (1998) is a situation in which an individual is able to cope with pleasant and unpleasant situations within his/her school environment without having psychological behaviour disorders. Victims of child trafficking may also show or display habits such as withdrawal, excessive aggression, shy or one form of maladjustment or the other. Hence, there is need for these children to be properly rehabilitated and re-integrated into the school system because their successes in negotiating these challenges predict school success.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Edo state, the „Heart beat of Nigeria‟, has been labeled as “the endemic source of child trafficking in Nigeria” (Braimah 2013). As a result of this negative label, a number of international organizations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have intervened to combat the menace in the state. Despite these interventions, child trafficking is still very rife in the area.
Information gathered by the researcher (based on interactions with some villagers and individuals in Edo state) showed that victims of child trafficking are not always willing to go back to school after they have been rescued and recovered from the trafficking chain. From the interactions, the villagers disclosed that victims when recovered from the traffickers exhibit certain unpleasant characteristics which were not common to them before they were trafficked. Such characteristics they said include: social exclusion, intolerance, sadness, despair and lack of interest and pleasure in nearly everything that would ordinarily excite young individual. They also noted that even if these victims are kept in school, some of them may withdraw (have drop-out tendencies) on their own. Based on these observations and revelations from these individuals, the researcher is prompted to embark on investigating the phenomenon. If researchers and educationists understand the level of influence of child trafficking on personality and academic adjustment among secondary school students, ways and means could be devised to boost the personality of the victims and enhance their academic adjustment, so that they would be able to stay in school for proper education and re-integration into the society. Based on the background therefore, the researcher is prompted to investigate the
topic” Influence of child trafficking on personality and academic adjustment among Junior Secondary School students in Edo state.”
1.3 Objective of the Study
The objectives of this study are:
- To examine the influence of child trafficking between victims and non-victims in their personality psychological stress level among Junior Secondary School students in Edo state.
- To examine the influence of child trafficking between victims and non-victims in their personality depression level among Junior Secondary School students in Edo state
- To examine the influence of childtrasfficking between victims and non-victims in their academic adjustment among Junior Secondary School students in Edo state.
1.4 Research Questions
In order to guide this investigation, the following research questions are formulated:
- What is the difference between victims and non-victims of child trafficking in their personality psychological stress among Junior Secondary Scholl students in Edo state?
- What is the difference between victims and non-victims of child trafficking in their personality depression among Junior Secondary School students in Edo state?
- What is the difference between victims and non-victims of child trafficking in their academic adjustment among Junior Secondary School students in Edo state?
1.5 Research Hypotheses
The following hypothetical statements are drawn for the purpose of this study.
- There is no significant difference between victims and non-victims of child trafficking in their personality psychological stress among Junior Secondary School students in Edo state.
- There is no significant difference between victims and non-victims of child trafficking in their personality depression among Junior Secondary School students in Edo state.
- There is no significant difference between victims and non-victims of child trafficking in their academic adjustment among Junior Secondary School students in Edo state.
1.6 Basic Assumptions
The following assumptions are made for the purpose of this study:
- Significant difference may exist between victims and non-victims of child trafficking in their personality psychological stress among Junior Secondary School students in Edo state.
- Significant difference may exist between victims and non-victims of child trafficking in their personality depression among Junior Secondary School students in Edo state.
- Significant difference may exist between victims and non-victims of child trafficking in their academic adjustment among Junior Secondary School students in Edo state.
1.7 Significance of the Study
It is hoped that the findings of this research work will be beneficial to classroom teachers in methodology as a result of individual differences among students. The findings of this study would enable classroom teachers to effectively handle victims of child trafficking for optimal adjustment to teaching and learning in the school.
School psychologists and counsellors would also find this study useful in behaviour managerment and counselling of victims and even non-victims of child trafficking. Policy makers and educationists have a lot to gain from this research in terms of curriculum planning and development, taking into consideration children who are victims of child trafficking.
Also, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), as well as UNICEF would find this research useful in providing intervention programmes for victims of child trafficking. Government and parents stand to benefit from the findings of this research.
The government can make use of the recommendations of this study through its agency, such as the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persopns (NAPTIP) to reduce the incidences of child trafficking.
Victims and non-victims of child trafficking would as well benefit from this study by being sensitized on the effects and dangers of child trafficking which are all contained in this work. This will prepare and equip them against any deceit from any trafficking agent
Similarly, it is hoped that the findings of this study will be significant to the society in general. This is because if the society is aware of the detrimental effects and dangers posed by child trafficking on personality and academic adjustment of the victims who are in school, society itself can mount campaign to frustrate the efforts of traffickers, trafficking agents and trafficking chains.
Finally, it is hoped that future researchers would also find this work of immense importance, as it would serve as reference material for their own work.
1.8 Scope and Delimitation of the Study
This study covers all the Junior Secondary Schools (JSS) in Edo state. Male and female students who are victims of child trafficking presently in JSS classes form the population of this research work. Record from Ministry of Education, Edo state shows that ten (10) designated schools have victims of child trafficking in the state, with a total population of 132 students.
Scales were adopted to measure the level of psychological stress and depression as well as academic adjustment of victims of child trafficking in Junior Secondary Schools in Edo state. It is the desire of the researcher to include students of Senior Secondary Schools in the study but due to time constrain the study has to be limited to only Junior Secondary Schools. More importantly, it is assumed that some of the students at the Senior Secondary School level are above 18 years, that is above adolescent age. Whereas the age group of students at JSS level in mainly adolescent. As we all know, adolescents are more emotionally challenged than any other age group, this is due to their stage of development. Therefore, the scope of this research is restricted to children not more than 18 years.