Child migration is quite common in Ethiopia - sometimes forced, sometimes 'voluntarily' (seduced by false promises), children migrate from the poor rural areas to the urban centres, in search for a better life. Migrating children are extremely vulnerable to child trafficking and other forms of child exploitation, such as (forced) child labour and child prostitution. Moreover, during their trip children on the move are exposed to many dangers, against which they are barely protected.
Commercial sexual exploitation of children is prevalent in most urban areas of Ethiopia. Young girls, some as young as age 11, are recruited to work as commercial sex workers at brothels, hotels, bars, rural truck stops and in resort towns. Rural Ethiopian children are often trafficked for domestic servitude to urban areas. Domestic child trafficking is predisposing girls into commercial sexual exploitation.
Terre des Hommes Netherlands’ integrated Children on the Move programme is aimed at addressing child trafficking and migration along the North Western corridor of Amhara Region, one of the main migration routes in Ethiopia. Along this whole corridor we cooperate with local partners who have the best insight in the situation on the ground. That way, we can intercept, protect and assist migrating children along the entire route and make best use of our partnerships through referral linkages; for instance, to reunify children with their families, even if they hail from elsewhere in the Region. Since child sexual exploitation is closely linked to child migration and trafficking, we pay specific attention to victims in the region’s capital Bahir Dar and in stopovers along the main transport route.
Our programme not only focuses on migrating children and sexual exploitation victims, but also on the main source areas where these children come from. Through improved access to quality education and through poverty reduction we work towards the prevention of child migration and trafficking.
One of the push factors for children to migrate, is the experience of abuse at home. Runaway children are particularly vulnerable to child trafficking and other forms of child exploitation. Mastewal (15 years) from Ethiopia ended up in child prostitution. Read the story.