Summary of the Novel
Trafficked is a novel that deals with the issues of human trade, that is, women trafficking through a series of reminiscences. Nneoma, the leading female character in the novel shows the trauma that goes with human trafficking; the deceit, the lies, the cons, and the slavery or servitude that goes hand in hand with women trafficking because they all end up as sex objects to men, in order words, the pimps use them “the trafficked” as prostitutes.
The novel which is credited with twenty-nine chapters has each chapter unfolding the stories and circumstances of each of the characters portrayed in the novel. Nneoma after a slight hiccup in her relationship with Ofomata decided to leave her home town in Ihite-Agu and upon hearing from a friend that there were teaching vacancies in the United Kingdom and that she would be introduced to the agents in charge, Nneoma went straight to her friend and they both traveled down to Lagos to meet with the agents. Six of them were chosen (all ladies between the ages of seventeen and twenty) and were flown out of the country under the guise that a teaching job awaits them. Nneoma expresses her joy and thank her ‘Chi’ at this junction but little was she to know that danger lay ahead of her. However, before they were flown out of the country they were made to swear an oath before a shrine and that, “…if we disregard the terms of the agreement, disobey them or cut links without settling our debt….” (Pg: 128).
Only when Nneoma got to Italy did she know she had been trafficked. After a period of six years of been trafficked she was caught and deported back to Nigeria where the government had made provisions for the empowerment of trafficked women through the establishment of Oasis Youth Centre for Skills Development (OYCSD) her she stayed another two years before she could summon the courage to go back home to see her parents at Ihite-Agu. During her two years stay at the centre she was trained as a tailor and she was able to get an admission into the University of Lagos to study a teaching course. The novelist through this novel is able to skillfully and tactically bring to the attention of the reader the issue of female trafficking and the inhumanity of man towards the women, the need for women to be more educated and enlightened about the issue of trafficking and the dangers attached to it, as well as understanding the process of trafficking.
At the centre of the novel is a consideration for the place and effect of parental love in the life of a child. Nneoma parents are an example in this case. Nneoma father in the person of Ogukwe Eke loved his daughter deeply and he believed that it was the spirit of his dead mother that dwells in Nneoma. Nneoma grew up a loved and cherished child in a peaceful home in which she was the third child of four children. Ogukwe who was a clerk at the Internal Revenue Department in the Ministry of Finance regarded himself as a family man, having done his best to train his children in school and provide for them and their mother. Adaeze, his wife, made more money than he does by the nature of her work which is trading and brought home more income than he did. But these things were not voiced,
“…For a woman’s wealth belonged to her husband and she could lay no claim to it at any time in her lifetime or even after she died…”
The novelist here subtly voiced out the plight of the woman in the Igbo culture which is also obtainable in other cultures as well where the woman cannot claim anything fro herself even after she laboured to acquire the wealth, she has no say in its spending, giving rise to the voiceless nature of the woman which society and culture had imposed upon her.
However, upon Nneoma disappearance from home and her elder sister Hannah religious fanaticism which led her to the arms of Prophet Elias who abused and mistreated her and encouraged her in committing outrageous crimes against Ihite-Agu shrines, completely embarrassing the family, Ogukwe still showed his love for his daughters by receiving them back with opened arms and not overtly criticizing them. The novelist through this portrayal of parental love is able to show that love stabilizes a lot of atrocities and erases pains, loneliness, and sorrow as Ogukwe and Adaeze showed their daughters that they were willing to forgive and forget.
“Every day belongs to the thief but one day belongs to the owner of the house” (Pg: 145)
This is the case with Ofomata who was regularly besieged by Dr Komolafe, a lecturer at the University of Lagos who takes pleasure in extorting money and other forms of things from his students, not only Dr Komolafe but some other lecturers in the campus was reported and had been asked to resign without much publicity being drawn to the case after a two hundred level male student set a trap for him. Ofomata, who happened to be the love of Nneoma before she fled their home town, was used by the novelist to explore the angle of corruption and bribery even in the academic world and the trauma some lecturers make students go through all in the name of passing them in the various courses they handle.
The novel goes on to tell the readers the post-traumatic implication which trafficking has on its victims and how Nneoma grew to be weary of men and most things they stand for. Through the eyes of Nneoma we are able to understand the extent of female degradation and through her plight we are able to form in our minds the question as to whether prostitution is a form of male violence against women?
Whether therefore, prostitution is a form of male violence and show of domination on women or not, the fact still remains that women from all parts of the world are being trafficked everyday to serve as prostitutes in most European countries with the lure of a better life and some are just outright kidnapping.
In all, the novel Trafficked, is a book full of the show of love, culture and tradition, education, human trafficking, and a host of other issues which has culminated together to give the work a sense of identity which is common with most of Akachi Adimora Ezeigbo works. Akachi with this book therefore has been able to portray and illuminate more on the issue of human trafficking and other elementary issues that keep a society together.