Ethiopia has ratified the UN Convention on the right of the child and included provisions in her constitution on the basic rights and privileges of children’s. Ethiopia also has signed the ILO Convention on required minimum age (No. 138) in 1999. The labor proclamation of Ethiopia (No., 42/93) stipulates that children below 14 years are not allowed to work. Employment of young workers between 14 and 18 years is also subject to certain conditions such as maximum of seven working hours per day, prohibition of overtime work, night work and provision of weekly rest and public days (NegaritGazeta, 1993).
Even if Ethiopia ratified UN Convention, child labor trafficking problem is common in Ethiopia. According to Ethiopia Child labor survey report (2001), children are engage in economic activities and non economic activities not compatible with their age in both the urban and rural areas. In rural areas, child work is perceived as an unavoidable or even necessary part of children’s socialization process. Children are commonly involved in domestic chores and are supposed to assist in manual labor in the agricultural sector such as attending domestic animals, weeding and harvesting. In the urban areas, children often forced into labor due to a situation of persisting poverty, which requires all family member to contribute to household income.
Child labor is extensively practiced throughout Southern Nations Nationalities and peoples Region (SNNPR); in this regard Gamo Gofa, Wolayita and Gurage are known for child labor and trafficking in the region, where highland girls fetch wood and water, which may require them to walk long distances with heavy loads and carry out household chores and waving. Among the lowland pastoralists, boys; especially, the first born, are often withheld from school for cattle herding from eight year upwards.
The research will be conducted in Gamo Gofa Zone the case of Chencha woreda. Chencha is one of the 15 woredas and 3 administrative towns found in Gamo Goffa Zone, which is situated at Km 312 and 37 Km away from Hawassa which is capital of the region and Arbaminch, capital of the zone respectively. The Gamo Gofa zone, is one of the 14 zones in the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Region. It is composed of 15 woredas (destricts) and three city administration. The zone bordered by Wolaita zone in north, Oromia in the east, and South omo and segen area peoples zone in the south and Konta zone, Bascketo special woreda and Dawuro zones in the west. Arbaminch town is the administrative capital of the zone, which is 505 km from Addis Ababa and 275 Km away from Hawassa which is capital of the region.
According to CSA (2007), the population size of the zone was then 1,593,104. Of this population 793,322 were males and 799,782 were females. Population size with residence area is that 157446, accounting only 9.9% are urban and 1,435,658, which covers 90.1% are living in rural area. Also in age group below 19 years old are 923,824 which cover 58% and below age of 14 are 749,403 account 47% from the total population of the zone. Zonal Average number of persons in a household/family member is 4.7. Households with 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 and above Family members accounts 16%, 14%, 15.8%, 2.9%, 1.6% and 1.8% respectively. Also specifically, the population size of the chencha woreda was 111,686. Of this 51,310 were males and 60,376 were females and also population of chencha by age group below 14 years are 48,245, which accounts 43.2% of the total population(CSA, 2007).
The flow of trafficking with in the country is from rural to urban areas and includes a significant number of children between the ages of 7 to 14 years (USAID,2017). Ayalew et al.’s,(2013) previous study in Gamo Gofa and Wolaita Zones of Southern Nation Nationalities state, indicated that child trafficking is increasing in Ethiopia. Children are used as cheap labor and also sexually (US State department, 2017). Arbaminch Town is on a main route for trafficking children to the cities of wolayita and Addis Ababa.
1.2. Statement of the problem
Trafficking is defined as the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons, by means of threat or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation (UN, 2000).
Across the world, in 2006, there are over 246 million child laborers. 186 million are under the age of fifteen whilst 8 million have been trapped by forced labor, slavery, serfdom, prostitution and armed conflict. Many of these children are victims of human trafficking. Though some child laborers voluntarily work to provide a larger income for their family, a growing percentage has been deceived into this way of life under promises of a better future by the traffickers (ILO, 2009).
The scale of human trafficking is quite significant. As a result of its hidden nature, it is difficult to obtain data on the exact estimate of the victims of human trafficking around the world and the human traffickers facilitating the migration process. The term human trafficking lacks a common definition among scholars who are working on the field. Because of the reasons mentioned above and largely for it is a complicated and hidden activity, crafting even inexact estimates of the number of people trafficked annually is difficult. Compounding the difficulties in estimation, trafficking is often committed by distinct ethnic groups that are hard for outsiders to penetrate (Shelley 2010: 4; and Savona ; Stefanizzi 2007:2).
Trafficking is a dynamic phenomenon that involves the movement of people in complex patterns. Determining places of origin, transit and destination will provide the basis for the mapping of trafficking flows. In some cases, movement of persons occurs across national borders, in other cases it occurs within a state. Most people are now aware that children and women are trafficked in to the world of commercial sex, hazardous work and exploitative labor (MOLSA, 2005). This means that children’s right is violated in many ways. Children are frequently trafficked into long and short term labor exploitation in agriculture, domestic work, and craft activity. In some parts of the world, children are exploited in mining or in fisheries. Girls in particular are trafficked into child domestic labor for families living in the capital.
Like in many other under developed countries, trafficking in children is one of the social evils that violate the rights of the children in Ethiopia. The major motive of trafficking in children in Ethiopia is for engaging them in a domestic work, traditional weaving industry, in commercial sex work, farm labor, begging, and etc. According to MCDP (2009) the magnitude of child trafficking in Ethiopia indicated that the problem is steadily increasing from time to time. Moreover, MCDP conformed that current experiences and preliminary findings in Addis Ababa revealed the trend of the problem continued to aggravate and turning the invisibility of labor exploitation into absolute ignorance from the public. Unlike other forms of violence against children, it appears that child trafficking and child labor seem to have been widely misconceived by the children’s families and the community being equated with child work as benefiting the child and the family. Thus, it is not given adequate attention at all levels of the community. Such tolerance is also emerged partly because of poverty and lack of awareness on the legal implications of child trafficking as violation of rights.
A research report by Ephrem (2008) indicated that many children in Ethiopia are moved away from their rural homes to urban areas and are exploited in the informal economy, where they are even more difficult to trace and at high risk of many forms of violence. Individuals exploit children in begging, commercial sex work, craft activities like weaving, street lottery selling, car window cleaning and other street-based activities.
Therefore, trafficking happens when someone is moved from one place to another – within a country or across a border – and by someone or a group, or by any push or pull factors into a situation in which they are exploited. This exploitation can take many different forms but usually involves dirty and dangerous work for little or no pay, with inadequate rest time, no safety nets like health insurance or social assistance, and often with a degree of force or violence (Tarekegn, 2008).
Haspels and Suriyasarn (2003) confirmed that lack of economic opportunities and both natural and man made calamities can encourage people to leave their origin and migrate from rural to urban areas and sometimes across borders for commercial sex work and other exploitative labor.
The root causes of trafficking are complex and often interrelated. Poverty, weak governance, armed conflict or lack of effective protection against discrimination and exploitation are some examples. Generalizations about the causes of trafficking for the continent of Africa, however, are misleading. It is important to understand that each country presents specific factors or different combinations of multiple factors that are unique to each situation. Also, any analysis of trafficking flows must take into account the rapidly changing environment that can alter the trafficking patterns at local and international levels.(UNICEF Innocent Research Centre,2003)
Analyses of causes generally highlight the “push factors” – on the so-called “supply side”– and tend to neglect the demand dimension of the problem. However, “pull factors” on the demand side are of equal salience for effective counter active measures against trafficking in women and children. The following are some of the cross cutting causes and vulnerabilities in the region. The push factors: poverty, power and violence?- Analyses of and reports on trafficking in human beings in Africa typically recognize poverty as the most visible cause for trafficking in human beings. But poverty is only one part of the picture. Another strong determinant is the particular vulnerability of women and children which makes them an easy target for traffickers. In particular, patterns of instability, oppression and discrimination may place women and children at greater risk, with social and cultural prejudices and the prevalence of gender violence presenting additional challenges to their effective protection from trafficking.(UNICEF Innocent Research Centre,2003)
Demand side: exploitative uses- With regard to the ‘pull factors ‘which instigate trafficking in women and children, five distinct areas of concern deserve our particular attention: sexual exploitation, other forms of economic exploitation, traditional practices, adoption and post-conflict scenarios. Starting from the 1980s there has been a significant growth in the number of Ethiopian citizens, especially women, who are subjected to human trafficking (ILO 2011).
Tump (Pearce, 2000) identified push and pulls factors connected with immigration and provides incentives for trafficking of humans. Factors that push people away from their home towards another consisted of: escaping war or persecution, violence, poverty, environmental disasters and human rights violations. The pull factors bringing people toward certain areas often related to demand for cheap labor in variety areas, like domestic service, agricultural work and sex industry.
In regard to prevalence and scrotal distribution of child labor, Children in Ethiopia are engaged in child labor in farming and in the bad forms of child labor in domestic service. Data from the Government’s 2011 Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) show that most children work for a family business. In addition, DHS data indicates that the percentages of child labor are higher between males and in rural areas.
According to Data from 2005, published by UNESCO Institute for Statistics, 2014. And Understanding Children’s Work Project’s analysis of statistics from Demographic and Health Survey, 2011, Statistics on Children’s Work and Education indicates that; Working population by age group of 5-14 yrs accounts 22.0 percent, attending School (%) age of 5-14 yrs. 54.0 percent, and Primary Completion Rate is 43.4 percent.
In Ethiopia, children work in the traditional weaving industry in Addis Ababa and in the Gamo Gofa and Wolayita Zones. Child weavers may work long hours, face physical, sexual, or emotional abuse from the or employers; and develop injuries as a result of crouching while working on traditional weaving looms. Anecdotal evidence suggests that some child weavers are held in debt bondage. In addition, children are trafficked from rural areas to Addis Ababa and other regions of the nation for forced labor in the weaving industry. The Confederation of Ethiopian Trade Unions reports that there was an increase in child labor in the construction industry in 2013.
In recent times, in Ethiopia, human trafficking is given a due consideration and government has started combating the problem in collaboration with other concerned non-governmental organizations. In spite of this government effort to tackle the problem, there is lack of anthropological researches/ studies concerning human trafficking in Ethiopia. Human trafficking is a very complicated and covert incident that needs to be studied from different dimensions to understand its course and nature, thereby to set strategies and policies which helps to combat the problem. Even though there is no systematically compiled and documented statistics as regards to the number of children trafficked in the country, hijacking children from rural or urban area and transporting them to other domestic or international destinations for worst forms of labor like prostitution, house maid (girl children), daily labor, weaver, etc has become a common practice (MOLSA, 2010).
Furthermore, it can be considered as Ethiopia is in the top 10 African countries trafficking children effecting myriads of traumatic events like corporal punishment or HIV/AIDS (International Service for Human Rights, 2006). Moreover, the study made by Forum on Street Children Ethiopia (2004) revealed that children in Ethiopia are frequently trafficked from place to place by relatives, brokers, friends, even with the consent of their parents. There exists a “market” for child labor in the city (employers seeking cheap labor of the quiet victims), and this is matched by an abundant supply of children in the rural area, most often from poor families, who are easy prey for those who seek to make a profit by exploiting their vulnerability. Wrong perceptions about city life and deceptions by traffickers were also contributing factors to the problems identified from the cases.
So far now, few researches have been done in Ethiopia on the issue of human trafficking. Most of these researches are done by different international and local organizations like that of ILO, IOM, MoLSA, and many others. There are also some studies conducted by individual researchers. Joyte (2005), Beydoun (2006), Mesfin (2011), Asefach(2012), and Elias (2013), are among the few individual researchers who studied human trafficking in Ethiopia. Most of these studies are highly concerned on the investigation of the challenges, prospects, and different kinds of right violations that Ethiopian domestic workers experience in the Arab Middle East, primarily depending on returnee domestic workers as key informants. None of the above researches have given much focus on the factors affecting child trafficking in their homeland. This thesis further examines factors both qualitatively in a meta-analysis and quantitatively
Child trafficking, as a process of recruiting, transporting, transferring, harboring or receipt of children for the purposes of sexual or labor exploitations is an ominous human rights violation being practiced in the country in a wider scale. With the exception of some survey studies made by the United Nations’ agencies like International Labor Organization (ILO), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and International Organization for Migration (IOM), and some reports indicated by Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (MOLSA) ,Child Labor Survey Reports by the Central Statistics Authority and few local NGOs such as Forum on Street Children(FSCE) and Mission for Community Development (MCDP) the problem of child trafficking in the country has not been properly researched and documented. Therefore, the need for an investigation in to the problem is all the more essential and timely.
Thus, this research was intended to fill these gaps and identified different factors affecting child trafficking in Chencha woreda of Gamo Goffa zone and forwarded some recommendation on how to overcome these problems.