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Top News 14-year-old emotionally reunited with family who searched for him for seven months

14-year-old emotionally reunited with family who searched for him for seven months

A boy in Ethiopia who was trafficked has been reunited with his parents, thanks to the support of our Lighthouse team.

Yohannes*, a 14-year-old from a small town in southeastern Ethiopia, had been tricked into travelling to Addis Ababa, the capital city, on the promise that he could start his business there. A man paid for Yohannes’ transportation costs and told a bus driver to transfer him to another person when he arrived in the capital. But Yohannes shouted for help and the police intervened.

After spending time with another civil society organisation focused on children’s wellbeing, Yohannes was then referred to Hope for Justice’s Canaan Lighthouse, one of our safe shelters for children who have faced or are at risk of exploitation and trafficking.

Our Lighthouse team assessed and supported Yohannes’ wellbeing with holistic services and then worked to trace his family. After assessing that it was safe for Yohannes to return, and that there was a low risk of re-trafficking or re-exploitation, our team travelled over 500km to Ginir to support Yohannes’ reunification with his family.

Incredibly, Yohannes’ family had been searching for over seven months for him in different cities and were overjoyed to see him again. Upon seeing him, Yohannes’ mother ran to the church to thank God before she hugged and kissed her son.

“I was searching for him for the last seven months in Addis Ababa, Hawassa [and other cities], but I couldn’t find him. Now, Hope for Justice brought my child home and I’m able to see him again. I believe it is the answer to my prayers.”

Yohannes’ mother

Yohannes’ neighbours, relatives and staff from the Bureau of Women & Children Affairs (BoWCA) were all there to celebrate his return.

During the reintegration process, Hope for Justice also had discussions with village residents, the BoWCA, police and Gadas, a local democratic system of governance in Ethiopia, to spread awareness about human trafficking and modern slavery within the community.

*Name changed to protect identity

young girl