A few years ago, a friend drew my attention to a really sad story. Her neighbour had gone to an orphange, adopted a young girl (about 9 years old) with the promise to love her and treat her as one of her own and then brought her home to act as an unpaid housemaid.
This woman had about 6 grown children who had moved out of the house. Most were married and had their own children. It was thought that the reason why she adopted was not only to have company in her old age, but also to help a child in need. She enrolled the girl into a public school (her children had attended expensive private schools) near her house and then set her to work as a cleaner, dishwasher and laundress. Naturally, her duties extended to cleaning up and taking care of any visiting grandchildren. After a short while, she stopped attending school and started facing her tasks at home fully. According to my friend, this went on for about 18months and then she suddenly stopped seeing the young girl in the area. She believes that she went back to the orphanage but is not sure.
My friend’s greatest regret is that she stood by and watched things unfold and did nothing. She feels that at the very least she could have approached this woman and threatened to report the situation. According to her, it was her lack of belief that the Nigerian Police would do anything constructive that stopped her.
I watched the CNN Freedom Project documentaries the other day and couldn’t help but think that a lot of the people that make a difference are ordinary folks like you and I.
A lot of housemaids in Nigeria are little more than slaves and forced to work under inhuman conditions. Some are even raped by several members of the family they work for. If you know anyone that is maltreating a housemaid or someone in their care, please report it to NAPTIP or to the police. If you are doing maltreating anyone please stop.
Let us stop modern day slavery in Nigeria. You and I know that it happens.