Reports reveal a human trafficking network operating between Cameroon and its neighbouring country, Nigeria, with an increasing number of victims, particularly from Cameroon.
Sources indicate that Cameroonian scammers based in Nigeria are orchestrating the exploitation of their fellow compatriots back in Cameroon through deceptive means.
An informant familiar with the network’s operations shared details with MMI, stating, “There is a chain of human traffickers operating between Cameroon and Nigeria. Once you are convinced of a better life abroad and agree, they guide you on the journey until you reach Nigeria (Port Harcourt). Upon arrival, you are coerced into calling your family members to send substantial amounts of money.”
The source went on to explain that if the ransom is not paid, victims are held captive and compelled to recruit a specific number of people for their release. “In this way, victims are manipulated, and the cycle continues,” our source emphasized.
Among the victims disclosed to MMI is a former taxi driver based in Yaoundé, originally from Vekovi in the Bui division, North West Region of Cameroon. The taxi driver has reportedly been actively recruiting individuals for the network.
“Through your platform, I believe it can reach the relevant authorities (both Nigerian and Cameroonian authorities need to be informed about this). There is a trail we can follow,” stressed our source.
Human trafficking in Cameroon has witnessed a surge in recent years, attributed to factors such as unemployment, poverty, and political instability. The Boko Haram insurgency in the Far North since 2013 and the Anglophone crisis in the Northwest and Southwest Regions since 2016 have further exacerbated the trafficking issue.
The Center for Human Rights and Democracy in Africa (CHRDA) reports that trafficking has notably increased due to the rise in internally displaced persons, asylum seekers, and refugees, forming one of the most vulnerable groups.