Research: Domestic work in Tanzania often induces child trafficking

In Mwanza, Tanzania’s second largest city, Terre des Hommes has examined the background of hundreds of children who work here as domestic slaves. The children they found are not only all victims of child labour, but also of child trafficking. Domestic work, often involuntarily, is one of the main reasons for child trafficking from the countryside to the city.

Child trafficking

Too young to work and not going to school

It has been found that many children are too young to be allowed to work legally, no longer attend school, or have never attended school at all. Two in five children are under the age of 14, too young to work legally according to Tanzanian law. Half of the children have dropped out of school between the ages of 9 and 12, before finishing primary school. One in 15 children has never attended school at all.

From the countryside to the city

It is striking that a large majority of the children (58%) originally comes from only two districts: Mwanza, the region surrounding the city itself, and Kagera, a region in the far northwest of Tanzania, bordering Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi, and isolated from the rest of Tanzania by Lake Victoria.

False pretences

It’s almost a standard scenario: children, especially girls, are lured to the city under false pretences, often being promised they will be able to attend school. Relatives or acquaintances take the children and upon arrival force them to work as domestic help with some family. Most of the time their remuneration only consists of board and lodging, or sometimes of a meagre salary, that, contrary to the agreement, often isn’t paid. The promised education is not even considered at all. Contact with the children’s own family or the outside world is often prohibited and the children become isolated.


Met de informatie uit het onderzoek kan Terre des Hommes in het gecombineerde kinderhandel/kinderarbeid programma in Tanzania beter inspelen op de problematiek, hoe en waar je slachtoffers het beste kunt ontdekken, wat de meest effectieve aanpak is om kinderen te helpen met hun gedwongen arbeid te stoppen en (weer) onderwijs te gaan volgen, en in welke regio’s ons preventieve werk het beste kan plaatsvinden.

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