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. She is now doing vocational training as a barber.

Sexual exploitation

Runaway from an abusive home

"I come from a village 100 kilometres from Gondar. Three years ago, I ran away from home because my stepfather physically abused me. I had enough of all the kicking and beating. My older sister was already living in Gondar and told me to come. I travelled to Gondar and moved in with my sister and her husband. But my sister’s husband began to complain that I was a financial burden to them. There was a lot of quarreling between the two of them. After four months, I could not take it anymore and decided to leave." 

Dropped out of school to start working

"Up to then, I had been studying in Grade 9. I was forced to drop out of school because I had to earn money to take care of myself. I lived with peers and worked as a waitress at a local restaurant. With that I earned about 350 Ethiopian birr per month (€ 15), plus about 15 birr (€ 0.65) tips a day. However, that was not enough to live on."

Yes, I know that the work is dangerous, I just joined for survival.


Mastewal, 15 years old

Safe house and vocational training as a barber

"Like any sex worker, I was registered with the local Community Care Coalition. Upon their recommendation, I was selected by Terre des Hommes Netherlands' partner ANPPCAN. This was my chance to step out of the sex work, and I eagerly seized the opportunity. Along with nine other girls I am now staying in the safe house. Besides a safe place to live, we also receive counselling to come to terms with our past. I'll stay here until I finish my vocational training as a barber."

I want to work hard, start my own barbershop and become a powerful businesswoman.

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