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

Joshua Oyeniyi Aransiola, Christina Zarowsky


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.


Street children; Children’ rights; Abused children; Child trafficking; Urban violence

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ISSN 2308-7854 (online); ISSN 0850-5780 (print)

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