Kidnapping: New Age Slavery

Kidnapping is cancer that has ravaged many parts of Nigeria, most notably in the north. There has been a boom in kidnapping activities as criminals view their victims as a source of income. These victims are sitting ducks who get taken by criminals looking to enrich themselves without warning.
Newspapers and channels report horror stories of people falling victim to kidnappers referred to as bandits daily. The kidnapping scourge can be compared to slavery as they have many similarities. Even though slavery was abolished centuries ago, it is safe to say it lives on through its ugly sister, kidnapping.

There are many parallels between both vices, they both involve capturing unsuspecting and unwilling people to make profit off of them.
These people are either lured into these situations by their abductors pretending to have their best interests or taken forcefully from their homes. Some abductees recount trekking long hours, held in unsanitary environments and left to wallow in their own filth, their health of little concern to their abductors, reminiscent of slaves packed like sardines on a slave ship.

They are treated poorly and only catered to enough to keep them alive to make off them. The abductees are sometimes beaten, raped, and killed by their captors in extreme situations, similar to slavery.
The primary reason kidnapping thrives is that people who could end it look the other way or are incapable of providing practical solutions; not much is done to secure the release of abductees. The responsibility of negotiating for and ensuring their freedom is solely placed on their relatives. This is similar to the “self-purchase” practices during the days of slavery, where slaves would work hard to secure their freedom.

Victims of kidnapping are used for free labour in the areas they are held captive. The longer it takes for family and friends to raise money for their ransom, the harsher the working conditions.

The inability of victims to provide their ransom poses more danger for them as they could be trafficked and sold if not killed, never to be seen again by the people they hold dear. The kidnapping rates do not seem to be going down, and as the economic situation keeps taking a turn for the worse, more desperate people would turn to kidnap as a career path. Inaction from bodies that are supposed to end this epidemic would mean more trouble for citizens, and it could very well signal the second coming of slavery.

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