The five-year insurgency in Nigeria by terrorist group Boko Haram has claimed thousands of lives and displaced more than a million people, half of who are children, according to the UNICEF.
In a country where trafficking of children for the purpose of prostitution, domestic service and other forms of exploitative labor was already a widespread phenomenon, terrorism has only made the situation even worse.
The Global Slavery Index lists Nigeria with the highest number of people engaged in modern slavery in any sub-Saharan nation.
A few days ahead of the presidential elections in Nigeria, CNN's Nima Elbagir filed an exclusive report on how children are sold at an "unofficial" displaced camp to be "fostered." A man offered to provide two young children to the undercover news team for $500.
“It had all been heartbreakingly simple,” Elbagir wrote. "We'd asked who had children available to 'foster' – a catch-all code word designed to conceal the true intent of those offering up the orphaned children.”
“At the camp where we finally met the man face to face, there was no attempt at subterfuge… Did I want to consider an older girl? A 12-year-old maybe? She could look after the 3-year-old, and cook and clean. Either way, two girls would be ready tomorrow, he said. I could see them then.”
Elbagir stated that the “deal” was finalized after the man agreed to accept a “donation” of $500. The findings of the investigation were then shown to Naptip, a governmental agency that fights human trafficking in Nigeria.
Children held by Boko Haram are readied for future use against government forces. Almost two weeks ago, 80 children rescued from the terrorist group couldn’t remember their own names and had little recollections of their past.
The startling discovery was made by National Democratic Institute's Christopher Fomunyoh, who said the kids spent so much time in militants' captivity and were subjected to such powerful doses of mind-altering indoctrination that they had forgotten their identities.
Nigeria, Africa’s biggest economy and oil producer, goes to the polls on March 28 – the fifth elections in the embattled country ever since it returned to democracy in 1999.
Current President Goodluck Jonathan is running against ex-military ruler Muhammadu Buhari in a ravaged nation where people, this time around, seek a leader who can bring security and effectively rid Nigeria of Boko Haram – for good.