Causes and Consequences of Trafficking in Women and Children to Urban Centers: The Case of Addis Ababa

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Addis Ababa University


Trafficking in human beings, especially in women and children for the purpose of labour and sexual exploitation has become an issue of global concern because of its rapid growth in recent years. Ethiopia is among the countries highly affected by both domestic and international trafficking. Incountry trafficking in women and children from rural to urban center is widespread in Ethiopian. However, the causes and consequences of trafficking in women and children are not well documented. The primary objective of this study was to identify the major socio-cultural, economic and legislative causes and consequences of trafficking on the victims in Addis Ababa. To this end, a total of 140 trafficked women and children were identified through non-probability sampling teclmiques and were interviewed by using an interview schedule containing close ended questions. In addition, 30 key informants were selected from different governmental, non governmental and private institutions and participated in the in-depth interviews. A total of four focus group discussions were conducted with community workers and victims of trafficking engaged in various activities. Efforts were also made to assess the role of law enforcement bodies in accordance with the country's legislative framework. The study involved the use of both quantitative and qualitative data, with more reliance on the latter. The research identified that low level of education compounded by lack of information exposed women and children to deceptive promises and motivations of brokers, friends, and relatives that were involved in the trafficking process. In most cases, the disparity in economic opportunities between rural areas and major cities like Addis Ababa had contributed to the trafficking of women and children by attracting them. Harmful traditional and cultural practices such as early marriage, discrimination against women and gender based violence pushed women and children to leave their origins to urban areas. The study revealed that the major causes of internal trafficking in women and children were economic factors; unemployment and poverty being the major ones. The capacity to implement the laws by law enforcement bodies was found to be limited. This in turn has contributed to the prevalence of the longstanding and deep rooted problem of internal trafficking in the country. The study indicated that trafficking victims experienced various forms of physical as well as psychological abuses. As a result, they suffered from severe forms of emotional disturbances and personality disorders. The study disclosed that trafficking victims engaged in domestic services, commercial sex work and traditional weaving industry were highl y vulnerable to the worst forms of economic exploitations. The forms of exploitations include long hours of work, overburdening with work, work with no leaves, low wage, and denial of payments. Empowerment of women and chi ldren, strengthening poverty reduction interventions in the rural areas, improving the capacity of law enforcement bodies, launching awareness raising campaigns, establishing more rehabilitation and reintegration proj ects, strengthening the fight against harmful traditional and cultural practices were recommended to combat the problem. It is also suggested that conducting further researches in di fferent aspects of trafficking and establishing a national council are vital for mitigating the problem.



Children to Urban Centers