In September 2020, Amara left for Genda Wuha, a town bordering Sudan in the west of Amhara region, to become a waitress. On the way, she caught a lift with a driver who lured her into child domestic labour, falsely promising her lots of money. She was convinced and the trafficker put her to work with his relative.
Orphaned at four, Amara from Ethiopia had been living with her uncle, a subsistence farmer. She was expected to help on the farm and in the household as well. This overburdened her to the point that she had to drop out of school in grade 5. Amara then started planning a way out.
Trying to escape the heavy workload at home, pushed her into exploitation. Amara faced a double workload compared to the expectations at her uncle’s. Amara was not only exploited in labour, but she was also abused physically and psychologically every time she made a petty mistake. For the next five months, this became Amara´s life.
Amara shared her ordeal with one of the girls from the neighbourhood. The girl helped her reach out to one of the volunteers working on child abuse on a community level. Terre des Hommes Netherlands´ partner MSD facilitated Amara´s rescue. She was provided with food, shelter, psychosocial and legal support. After a few weeks, she was reunited with her uncle in her home village in rural Amhara region in February 2021. Her uncle was educated on the importance of creating a child-friendly environment by assigning age-appropriate chores.
Amara says she is grateful to be free from the exploitation and mistreatment. She likes to assist with daily chores at home but in a way that does not affect her overall development. “I can say that my uncle has changed for the better since our reunion. He is now engaging me in activities consistent with my overall capacity level,’’ she said. Amara dreams of becoming a teacher so she can help other girls at risk of unsafe migration.