When I learned about Nigerian women being exploited in Europe as forced prostitutes, I was shocked. Beleive me, forced prostitution happens to almost every nationality. Enlightenment about this topic has been happening since decades. The thought of these young women forced to the streets to sell sex at roughly 20,-€ per client to dozen of European men every night was a horrific.
Enlightenment. That is the key word.
I began to research and realized that this form of exploitation, a form of human trafficking had existed more than 10 years before. Why are women not informed in Nigeria? Why on earth had nobody enlightened them? If they were enlightened and informed, they would not fall victim to this circumstance. That was my belief back then in 2006. Today, I see things differently. Watch my latest video on JoadreTV (Title) to find out how I see things now.
Our society embarked on enlightenment hundreds of years ago to find rational explanations for everything that needed answers. But how effective is this approach when it comes to issues like this? Often young women make the decision to travel to Europe out of desperation and out of lack of perspective. Not out of lack of total ignorance or lack of opportunity.
My social business Joadre fashion gives me the opportunity to spend much time with people who are affected in Europe as well as with vulnerable individuals in Nigeria. I have come to see that Nigeria has so many opportunities. In fact, way too many economic opportunities compared to many saturated and developed markets around the world today.
Can enlightenment tackle more pressing problems?
So lack of opportunities might not be the major push factor for these young women. There are a dozen other more pressing problems that pressurise vulnerable people to say yes to human traffickers. Just to mention a few like poor upbringing, poor social environment, degrading health conditions, sexual & domestic violence, personal development issues like poor self confidence, gender issues, greed, lack of skills, poor mind-feeding and many more.
Living in a cloud of these issues creates an atmosphere of “no perspective”. You see no opportunity. The easiest solution is to change geographical location. But the impact of the deep issues you carry along with you into the new space. I strongly believe that when sentitisaion happens, it should focus deeply on the root causes, rather than on the immediate discomfort caused by the deeper issues.
If it is not happening to you, you are always on the outside!
There are hundreds of organisations out there trying to engage target groups and inform them about different dangers. Excellent but with what is the approach? I have seen too often that these “preachers”, myself included, often come as experts with our fully baked solutions into the space, motivated to “help” the affected. So many of us have not experienced the issue internally for which we tend to enlighten others. So our approach is often from the outside.
Does it mean you have to be affected directly to be engaged? No! It means that we have to take the back seat and let those that are directly affected lead.
We cannot be the drivers!
We have to be the passenger in the car and let those that live with the problem drive. We should be available to assist, to help navigate with our go-intended solutions but also open to through our solutions into the bin if our ego allows. Because if we embark fully to drive on our self-designated road, we might get disappointed when those we want to support do not embrace our way of life, our rationalisation of a situation from the outside, our beautiful world of how things should be.
What is the essence of awareness?
How can we design awareness to respect and take into account the true circumstance of the affected? Welcome to Joadre blog where I will share deep thoughts from my experiences as a social entrepreneur advocating for the rights of marginalised women and children. To accompany my blog, I will release weekly videos on my Youtube channel where I handle one “large life topic” every month and approach it from multiple perspectives weekly.
Join the conversation
I invite you to join the discussion and share your own experience, comments, thoughts. Maybe at the end of the day, we all will see these issues with deeper diversity. Maybe that will be the key to creating “one” sustainable solution.
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