Causes and Consequences of Human Trafficking: A Case Study in Metema Town

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Addis Ababa University


Currently migration and migration related topics have a prominent place in the discipline of anthropology. Among a range of topics, anthropologists are involved in the study of such areas as migration and identities, religion, family and kinship, remittances, development, and hometown associations. The current study is one of such anthropological endeavors made to understand the ever increasing phenomenon of human trafficking in Ethiopia. Trafficking in persons is an illicit trade in living human beings, where people are recruited in their country of origin and transported to destination countries for the purposes of different exploitations. The research is conducted in Metema town, one of the prominent transit places in Ethiopia which used to traffic a significant number of Ethiopian migrants to the Sudan. Understanding the root causes of trafficking, depicting the multifaceted challenges being faced by trafficked persons and writing an anthropological account of human trafficking in Ethiopia were the major objectives of the study. To accomplish the above objectives the study collected primary and qualitative data from different informants in Metema town by employing such qualitative data collection techniques as an interview, focus group discussions and observation. A total number of 20 informants were participated in the study as informants. Human trafficking is one form of migration, and migration is a response made by persons to cope up with different economic, socio-cultural, and political crises. The findings of the study showed that such economic condition as poverty and a desire to improve one‟s economic condition coupled with lack of employment and low payment for domestic works made many young Ethiopians to look for opportunities in a foreign land and to end up in trafficking. Besides poor economic conditions the study also identifies and discuses other socio-cultural and politico-legal issues as causes of trafficking in Ethiopia. Trafficked persons faced multifaceted problems not only in the destination counties, but also in the transit places and in the journey made to reach the destination country. The study also found out that trafficked persons experience different problems before reaching the destination country, the Sudan. In their way to the destination country trafficked persons are raped, beaten, abused, and ripped of their rights both in the transit town and in the desert route



Social Anthropology