Meeting a Child Trafficker

Our recent blog post ‘Child trafficking in Ethiopia’ highlighted the danger faced by all orphans and vulnerable children. Gondar’s location close to the Sudanese border makes our local children particularly at risk. This is the shocking account of our recent face-to-face encounter with a suspected child trafficker. With the smell of freshly roasted coffee circulating our phone rang. “Did you know Adem is leaving Gondar?” “No” “He and another boy going to America with a man they just met” My heart sank. This is a common trick. Many – I’m even inclined to say the vast majority of – people in Ethiopia, see America as a promised land where everyone has a life of luxury. It comes as no surprise that poor families are willing to let their children go away with a stranger with a promise of a better life in the US. It is the honey-trap. We raced to Adem’s house. There is no way this is legitimate I told myself. I’d recently been written a blog on child trafficking in Ethiopia and read too many stories about the lies of schooling and a better life in other countries used to deceive children and their families. When we arrived Adem was there as was the man wanting to take him to the US. As Nigisti spoke to the children, I started talking to the ‘man from Sudan’ in the most unaccusing way I could muster. In all honesty playing dumb trying to solicit more information from him; Adem and his friend Robel might not be the only ones. “Are you the man who wants to take the...