Ethiopia: Recruitment agents complicit in exploitation of children as domestic workers

Author: Thomson Reuters Foundation, Published on: 5 March 2020

"Ethiopia's enslaved child maids seek solace at night school"

Each day, 12-year-old Tesfa waits for the clock to strike3.30pm and provide her respite from the cooking, cleaning and beatings she endures working as a maid in Ethiopia’s capital. Once she finishes her daily tasks - which include caring for a toddler - Tesfa runs to a primary school to avoid being late for a catch-up class tailored towards underage domestic workers...Tesfa is one of countless girls working as maids in cities across Ethiopia although official data is lacking. Most come from rural areas and are sent away in search of a living by their families - often via labour brokers or with relatives. Kept indoors, far from home, and unprotected by labour law, many child servants are denied an education, exploited and enslaved, according to activists that work with such victims...

...The main challenge is dealing with labour brokers...Families who are in the market for house help often turn to labour agents, who source young rural girls before taking them to their employers, taking a cut of the salary as commission. Yet many unscrupulous brokers are known to have deceived parents with false promises of a better life for their children in major cities, before placing them with exploitative bosses. “We have to ... discuss with them (labour brokers), to show the impact (their actions) will have on the young girls,” Kibri added, stressing the need for awareness-raising campaigns.

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