On the evening of April 14th, more than 200* girls were abducted at gunpoint from their boarding school in Chibook, Nigeria, by members of militant group Boko Haram.
Almost one month later and news of this tragedy is only just filtering through to the world outside Nigeria. The actual whereabouts of these girls is still unclear although the abductors – whose very name translates literally as ‘Western education is forbidden’ – claim to be planning on selling their victims on into forced marriages and other forms of slavery. Meanwhile, the victims’ desperate families can do little but wait, hope and pray.
As news of this terrible tragedy has spread across the globe, so too has the anger from the world’s citizens at such injustice. The idea that anyone should be kidnapped and sold as punishment simply for gaining an education is abhorrent and barbaric – but unfortunately not uncommon. Today, 200 years after the so-called abolition of slavery, child marriage affects an estimated 10 million children worldwide. Every day children from around the globe are kidnapped and sold into a life of misery as a result of slavery.
With reports that countries including the US and UK have offered their help in finding the abducted girls of Chibook, but with little real action to show for it so far, the rallying cry of men and women across the world for the safe return of these girls continues to grow. Millions have taken to social media to demand their return and the tag #BringBackOurGirls has flooded Twitter, garnering the support of celebrities, world leaders and influencers alike.
With the fate of these young women for now undecided, the modern phenomena of the influence of social media is in this case yet to be proven. But with petitions calling for our world leaders to facilitate a swift rescue flooding the internet and the backing of so many and so powerful, the hope remains that the school girls of Chibook will be reunited with their loved ones soon.
And in the meantime, perhaps we can choose to inform ourselves of the continuing problem of slavery and forced marriage in Nigeria, Africa and beyond.
Follow these links for more information about modern day slavery and how to fight it here:
Not for Sale Campaign
The Centre for Social Justice
*Reports vary to the exact number of girls kidnapped.