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Abstract

This paper examines the changing status of Bini women occasioned by the upsurge and endemic nature of the phenomenon of trafficking of women for the purpose of transactional sex. It engaged ethnographic methods of data collection with the use of family based interviews, focus group discussions using vignette stories, life histories, and key informant interviewing. Data were analyzed based on emerged themes. Findings revealed that “successful” trafficked Bini women enjoyed high socio-economic status in their families of procreation especially where family members were the direct recipients of the proceeds from transactional sex. Most mothers of “successfully” trafficked victims wielded greater influence in family of procreation than was the case in traditional Benin family structure and prior to the era of trafficking in the study area. In addition, girl children that are “successful” victims of trafficking are highly revered by their older male siblings, as long as they sent “hard currency” from overseas. The paper concluded that many uneducated women still perceive trafficking and transactional sex as empowering initiatives to protect women from the oppressive culture, which hinder their access to critical economic resources, but privileged the male gender.

Note on the Author

Clementina A. Osezua is currently a member of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, of the Faculty of Social Sciences in Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife in Nigeria, Dr. Osezua teaches Social Anthropology courses both at post graduate and undergraduate levels and also teaches gender related courses at undergraduate levels in the Department. She has a keen interest in the area of gender-based violence, including human trafficking; intimate partner violence; sexual and reproductive health issues engaging ethnographic lens. She has published both at local and international outlets in her these areas of interests. She is an award winner of several prestigious fellowships and most recently, she became an alumnus of the prestigious Brown International Advanced Research Institute, 2013 Edition, Providence, R.I., USA. Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-Ife Nigeria.

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