Modern Slavery Prevention and Protection Programs Launched
“When it comes to the situation in Ada’a Wareda, it is not different from the rest of the country, we have made an assessment and everyone knows at least one person who went to the Middle East as maid, and a good number of people know at least one person who died or physically tortured or in psychological problem.”
-Tenkir Gebremariam Abbabulgu, ENA Ethiopia Country Director
Engage Now Africa is very proud to announce that we have officially launched the Ada’a Community Development Project for the eradication of modern slavery. Engage Now Africa (ENA) is spearheading this with full support and assistance from local community leaders, schools and the government. We will be creating community awareness on human trafficking (both internal and external), mitigating the effects through sensitization programs, educating vulnerable groups on modern slavery tactics perpetuated by traffickers and help stop voluntary migration of women to the Middle East by exposing the conditions that allow traffickers to thrive.
HOW IT WORKS
The new program will be implemented in 15 schools (3 high schools and 12 Junior high schools) throughout Ethiopia. The primary focus will be girls ages 16 – 24 and will focus on prevention and protection. The program will also be implemented in girls clubs and other locations selected by the Women’s and Children’s Affairs and Education Bureaus. ENA will select community volunteers and school representatives from each location to train and educate students and community members on modern-slavery, forced labor, the abuse of women and children and child trafficking (both internal and external trafficking). The representatives selected will then work within their respective schools by educating their peers to raise awareness. Community volunteers will be trained to educate community members with their dialogue and training sessions. Furthermore, they will provide quarterly reports, annual reports and project evaluations to the bureaus to ensure the programs are effective. Each representative and community volunteer will receive brochures, fliers, posters and mini re-eneactment dramas to aid them in their efforts. ENA will also erect billboards and posters throughout the surrounding areas of the schools to raise awareness and advertise the new educational programs.
Community volunteers are currently being organized into committees to provide community training sessions and dialogues to educate and raise awareness throughout villages in Ethiopia. ENA and sector bureaus will utilize traditional gatherings and arrange new platforms for educating communities. In these platforms trainings, dialogues and fliers will be used in order to sensitize the community and raise awareness about modern slavery. In the beginning stages, ENA will work hand in hand with the bureaus to implement the community trainings. Eventually, ENA will hand the programs completely over to the bureaus to oversee and expand. The bureaus will also be responsible for conducting regular field visits and project evaluations.
About 7,326 students from three high schools and 12 second cycle primary schools will participate in modern slavery education and awareness discussions. They will be educated on the conditions that lead to human trafficking and receive the necessary information they will need to protect themselves from falling victim to modern slavery.
Human Trafficking in Ethiopia Today
There are two types of human trafficking in Ethiopia: internal and external.
Internal trafficking takes place when children, girls, women and boys are moved to cities and towns from various parts of rural areas with promises of education, money to parents and better life. Usually these children who are trafficked internally end up in forced labor as a domestic servitude, the weaving industry and street begging. Girls may also be forced to engage in prostitution.
External trafficking in Ethiopia is usually done by legal and illegal brokers who call themselves “agencies”. The most common target for these legal and illegal agents are uneducated girls ages 16 – 24 who live in rural areas. The most common destination of the external human trafficking is the Middle East followed by North Africa and other African countries such as Sudan, Djibouti and South Africa.
Young people from Ethiopia’s vast rural areas are aggressively recruited with promises of a better life and career opportunities in the city. They are believed to be targeted because of the demand for cheap domestic labor in the Middle East. Persuasive brokers, low education levels and peer pressure serve as the primary reasons young people are easily recruited in rural areas.
Globally, the most common forms of human trafficking in the Middle East include: sex trafficking of women and children, child trafficking for the purposes of begging or camel racing, forced labor of migrant workers in low skill economic sectors and forced domestic labor. Although not all cases of forced labor are instances of human trafficking, the vulnerability of individuals subject to forced labor conditions – in which involuntary work or service is extracted from a person under the menace of penalty- frequently renders them susceptible to human trafficking.
Studies in the global slavery index reveal that about 35.8 Million people in SSA are living in modern slavery and 389,000 of these are Ethiopians who were trafficked through ‘agencies’ that recruited them in their villages. These Ethiopians live either under contract or outright slavery both in and outside the country. Other sources estimate that in the Middle East alone, 130,000 Ethiopians live under forced labor as maids who work from 16 – 20 hours every day in awful conditions and in more than one household. According to studies by AAU researchers, when these women complete their time of agreed upon service, a significant number of them return home with physical disabilities of various levels, are completely bankrupt and morally degraded. There are also several reports of death due to abuse while enslaved.
Here at ENA we are committed to eradicating modern slavery and are proud to be taking the necessary step to provide prevention and protection tools to those who are most vulnerable.