A grieving mother, who had thought her son was lost forever, said of being reunited with her boy: “The joy is like giving birth again to my son. I will never forget this day.”
9-year-old Abenezer* was trafficked into labour exploitation from rural Southern Ethiopia. One day, he was playing with his friends near the local market when a trafficker approached him, and promised him a better life in the city.
But when Abenezer arrived, he was forced to learn and carry out traditional weaving techniques in a harsh environment. He was given little food, and abused both physically and emotionally when he struggled to learn quickly or perform the work well.
After nine months of fear and exhaustion, Abenezer bravely took his chance to escape. He was then found on the street by the police, who referred him to Hope for Justice’s Ethiopia Lighthouse.
When our staff took him in, Abenezer was depressed and traumatised. He felt that no-one would understand what he had been through. For two months, our expert team cared for him, providing counselling sessions and life skills training. He also benefited from the support of the other children at the Lighthouse, who had had similar experiences.
He began to visibly recover. He became more communicative, participated in activities more, and became keen to return to his family. Hope for Justice worked hard to find and contact his family, who had been searching for Abenezer for months, and were delighted to hear that he was safe. The family were very emotional, and cried tears of joy, when we were able to finally reunite them for good.
Abenezer is now happily living at home and is back at school. The police are searching for the trafficker.
*Name has been changed to protect the identity of the survivor