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Top News Trafficker charged with exploiting 14-year-old girl

Trafficker charged with exploiting 14-year-old girl

A 14-year-old girl has been reunited with her family after being tricked into domestic work. Thankfully someone who had received our training recognised the signs of trafficking and used this knowledge to help.  

The trafficker has been charged for exploiting a child and ordered to make a back payment to the survivor for 11 months’ worth of work. 

Faizah* was internally trafficked in Ethiopia after initially taking up a work opportunity with someone who was known to her family. 

Faizah’s father died when she was very young and so she and her siblings were raised by their mother. But their childhoods were affected by poor living conditions, a lack of food and financial hardship. These pressures meant Faizah was left with no choice but to go and find work to provide for her family. 

She left her home in a rural part of Ethiopia’s Oromia Region and travelled 600km to the capital, Addis Ababa. There, she began carrying out domestic chores for an individual who was known to the family. But she never received any money for her work. 

Faizah was then moved from one household to the next, forced to meet the needs of her ‘employers’ and carry out tasks such as cooking, cleaning and childcare. Faizah was then trafficked 300km south to another property. She was promised a salary of 1,500 birr per month – the equivalent of £20 or $26. But Faizah never received any money. 

She worked diligently for 10 months. One day she asked why she had not received any pay. The trafficker became angry and abusive, forcing Faizah to run away from the house to escape the situation. 

The survivor told us she did not speak the same language as the perpetrator, and she did not know where to look for help.  

One of our social workers said: “The survivor ended up on the street. People tried to help, but no one spoke her first language, Oromifa. Eventually, a woman who was passing by did speak the same language. She was a member of a Hope for Justice Self-Help Group where she had received training about modern slavery and human trafficking. She used this knowledge to help the survivor.” 

This good Samaritan referred Faizah to the Ethiopian Government’s Women and Children Affairs Office and legal officers, who brought her to Hope for Justice in April this year. Faizah came to stay at one of our Lighthouses – safe transition centres where we provide short-term care for children who have been exploited, or who are at risk of exploitation.  

Faizah received counselling, trauma-informed care, medical check-ups, education around hygiene and how to report abuse, and life skills. 

A member of our team said: “When the survivor first arrived at the Lighthouse, she did not want to be with the other children. She was very afraid and scared to speak. But with trauma-informed care, life skills and one-to-one sessions, she gradually began to engage. She began to shine. Faizah is a brilliant team leader. She has grown in confidence.” 

The survivor told us that she missed her family and asked when she would be reunited them. We are pleased to share that our team has managed to trace her relatives and, just a few weeks ago, Faizah was reunified with her family. You can read more about our approach to ending modern slavery here.

The trafficker has been charged for the abuse and made to repay the survivor a salary of 11 months.  

*Name changed to protect identity of the survivor 

young girl