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Blogs and Opinion What is the price of a child’s freedom?

What is the price of a child’s freedom?

It is all too easy for children to become trapped in modern slavery and human trafficking. 

Traffickers prey on the vulnerable, such as those living in poverty, those with a disability, or those with mental health problems. 

But children are particularly vulnerable. They are targeted because of their age and their innocence. Other children at risk include those with a chaotic family background or an abusive parent or guardian, those who are orphaned, and those living on the streets. 

There are an estimated 12 million children living in modern-day slavery around the world. Take a minute to let that sink in: 12 million children who are being controlled by another human being, who have had their freedom taken away. 

Some are being forced to work long hours in factories or mines or other hazardous working conditions for little or no pay. Others are being held inside private homes against their will and made to carry out domestic work, cooking, cleaning and looking after young children. Many are enduring verbal and physical abuse. Still others are trapped in forced marriages, forced begging and sexual exploitation. 

Bringing freedom to trafficked children

Hope for Justice is working to remove children from these unjust, dehumanising situations. Our outreach teams engage with some of the most vulnerable children, especially those on the streets. 

Our Lighthouses offer a safe place for boys and girls who have experienced modern slavery or intense vulnerability to it, with shelter, trauma-informed care and counselling, medical interventions, education and play. We want children to live their lives to the full. We want them to have their freedom restored. 

The long-term goal is always reintegration to safe families. 

It costs on average £750 – or $950 – to put a child through Hope for Justice’s aftercare programme and get them safely back to their families or family-based care. 

Would you donate today to bring freedom to a child trapped in modern slavery?

We recently shared Blessing’s* story. She has just been reunited with her mother after seven years or not knowing where her family were or how to get home. 

She was referred to one of our Lighthouses in 2017 where we provided care and shelter, keeping Blessing safe from the dangers of the street. Meanwhile, our team worked hard to trace her family members. We refused to stop searching. 

Finally, earlier this year, we were successful. An advert was broadcast on local television and Blessing’s older brother happened to be watching. Aged 19, Blessing has finally been reunited with her mother. She is home. 

Our human right to freedom

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) says in Article 13 that: “Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state. Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.” 

And Article 4 of The Human Rights Act 1998 says: “No one shall be held in slavery or servitude. No one shall be required to perform forced or compulsory labour.” 

When a survivor of modern slavery or human trafficking leaves exploitation, either on their own or with help, it is often just the beginning of a long road to recovery. Hope for Justice is here to support survivors on that journey.

young girl