In Ethiopia and Uganda, Hope for Justice runs programmes that empower communities to prevent child trafficking and exploitation.
In Ethiopia, Hope for Justice has set up Child Wellbeing Clubs in 100 schools in regions where trafficking is most prevalent. Each school has two clubs, with about 60 pupils between them. As well as 6,000 children meeting weekly to learn about children’s rights and the dangers of trafficking and unsafe migration, the events they hold and conversations they have with peers mean that the true reach of the Clubs is even wider.
In Ethiopia alone, we estimate that Hope for Justice Child Wellbeing Clubs are reaching 100,000 people with information about modern slavery every year.
Recently, one of the schools in Wolaita with a Child Wellbeing Club was able to prevent children being trafficked for forced labour. A pupil’s father, who works on a tea plantation in western Ethiopia, needed to visit the school to collect a letter, and he tried to use this as an opportunity to recruit children to come and work on his plantation.
Because the school community had been educated about the risks of trafficking, they were able to prevent the children from coming to any harm. The perpetrator was also promptly arrested and charged. But the Child Wellbeing Clubs in the school also used the incident as an opportunity to raise awareness across the whole community about child trafficking.
They used a Parents’ Day to host an event, providing information about why children are trafficked, how to spot the signs, and how to prevent this kind of exploitation. The hope is that not only was this case of trafficking stopped before any long-term damage could be done to the children and their families, but the Child Wellbeing Clubs can also protect the community from traffickers in the future.
Enrique Restoy, Director of Hope for Justice’s International Programmes met the School Administrator during his recent visit to Ethiopia. He said: “This story underlines the importance of prevention work. It’s much easier to stop trafficking before it actually happens, when you don’t have to find out where the victims of trafficking are. So, this work is really important, and having a massive impact on communities and the children who are part of them.”
Alongside Child Wellbeing Clubs, our community prevention programmes also include training for community leaders, and setting up Child Protection Committees. These committees bring together the police, social workers, school leaders, religious leaders and other members of the community to identify, report and act on cases of child abuse and exploitation.
Through Hope for Justice Self-Help Groups, mothers receive training in positive parenting, business and financial skills, and on trafficking awareness. They are supported to save as a group and loan those savings to individual members with which to set up businesses. These businesses, in turn, make their families financially resilient against the enticements of traffickers.
Through these programmes, and with your support, we can be the generation to end human trafficking.