Hope for Justice’s Deborah Lighthouse – a centre supporting young girl survivors of trafficking and slavery in Ethiopia – is marking its 1,000th survivor since opening.
Dereje Zeleke, Hope for Justice’s Ethiopia Country Director comments:
Established seven years ago in Addis Ababa, the country’s capital, the Deborah Lighthouse has worked tirelessly to provide refuge, rehabilitative support, and reunification efforts to girls aged 7-18 years old. It serves to address identifiable trends in the exploitation of young girls in Ethiopia. Indeed, the kinds of circumstances of its 1,000th survivor are typical of those who are referred to the centre.
The survivor is Sagal*, a young girl of 12 from rural Ethiopia. Her family found themselves under financial strain as the result of her parents’ divorce. Her single mother was the sole source of income for the family, working to support several children.
As can often happen, the young girl was sent to the city to help relieve the financial burden on her mother. But she was forced into domestic servitude, where she was obliged to maintain a house and supervise young children: all this at the age of 10 years old. She suffered emotional and physical abuse at the hands of her employer for “not working properly”. After two years, the young girl left the house and was found by the police before being referred to Deborah Lighthouse. She is now enrolled in the Lighthouse’s full roster of trauma-informed, survivor-centered activities.
The vulnerability of girls like Sagal, coupled with the often-urgent financial situations of their families, creates fertile ground for exploitation, trafficking, and modern slavery. In collaborating with government and other anti-trafficking hubs, Deborah Lighthouse (one of six similar shelters operated by Hope for Justice in Ethiopia) supports and empowers survivors to lead fruitful lives and to be reunited with their families.
Your support ensures that programmes like the Deborah Lighthouse can continue their vital work. Donate what you can below; together, we can work to end slavery.
*Name of survivor changed to protect identity
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