Street children, human trafficking and human security in Nigeria:competing discourses of vulnerability and danger

  • Joshua Oyeniyi Aransiola University of the Western Cape Obafemi Awolowo University
  • Christina Zarowsky University of the Western Cape,
Keywords: Street children, Children’ rights, Abused children, Child trafficking, Urban violence


This paper examines the lived experience of street children and other stakeholders’ perceptions in three urban cities (Lagos, Kaduna and Port Harcourt) in Nigeria. The study used quantitative and qualitative methods to explore the perspectives of five major stakeholders: Government Agencies, Civil Society Organizations, the Community, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and street children themselves. The findings revealed that street children are perceived to be perpetrators as well as victims of crime. They are exploited, abused and used as drug mules, pressed into commercial sex, and manipulated or bribed into the fire-bombings and violence in Nigeria. While some stakeholders urge increased protection of child rights, others canvassed for “eradication” of the street children. There is therefore the need for more pragmatic steps by the Nigerian government and civil society to address the conditions faced by street children in order to address the security problems and the fundamental human rights of the children.

Author Biographies

Joshua Oyeniyi Aransiola, University of the Western Cape Obafemi Awolowo University
School of Public HealthSociology and Anthropology Department
Christina Zarowsky, University of the Western Cape,
School of Public Health