2.8. An over view of children migration and trafficking in Ethiopia
Children under the age of 18 comprised close to half of the Ethiopian population, which was estimated to be 72.4 million in 2004 (UN, 2004).
According to CSA’s the 2007 population and housing census of Ethiopia, results for SNNPR, Gamo Gofa Zone and Chancha woreda, Children under the age of 19 in comprised more than half of the Region’s population, which is 8,164317 accounting about 59.1%, 852,730 / accounting about 58% and 55,699 /accounting 53.54% of the total population of geographical areas respectively.
Ethiopia is one of the least developed countries in the world. On account of different human development indicators, Ethiopia is ranked 169th out of 175 countries. During the period between 1990 and 2001, 81.9 percent of the population was living under 1 USD a day, and 44 percent of the population was living under the national poverty line (UNDP, 2003).
Agriculture, which is the largest sector in the country, is not developed. The main reasons for the poor performance of agriculture include insecurity of land tenure, diminishing size of farm plots, and lack of sufficient investment in the rural economy by government and the private sector (Desalegn&Aklilu, 1999)
The role of resource constrain as a hurdle to child right promotion is partly reflected in the failure or ineffective functioning of social services such as health and education, which is illustrated in the high malnutrition rates, high illiteracy figures, and the spread of HIV/AIDS, which has taken epidemic proportions.
According to Save the Children, the country has the lowest percentage of social services amongst poor countries (SC, 2001).
Trafficking occurred both internally, from rural parts of the country to cities, and abroad for the purpose of domestic work, agriculture, trading, sexual exploitation, and for petty crimes like begging. Adults, too, are trafficked for various reasons within and outside of the country (Aronowitz 2009: 80).
A research report by UNICEF (2000) revealed that the stiff demand of labor from children triggered children migration from rural parts of Ethiopia to the urban towns. ESRC Research Group (2006) even more confirmed that the exploitative nature of child labor forced the situation of child migration chronic in Ethiopia. The clear visualizations from diversified sources show that the problem is more persistent in Ethiopia from rural-urban and urban–urban than rural-rural and urban–rural pattern increased due to construction work opportunities in urban areas. (Pankhurst, 2005; ESRC Research Group on the Well being of Developing Countries, 2006). Child migration may occurs since there are ”pushing factors” such as the absence of occupational opportunities in the rural areas, and; prevalence of famine, drought, and conflict. (Gebre; Ezra cited in Menberu, 2006; Forum on Street Children, 2004).
Forum on Street Children Ethiopia (2004) augmented as child migration from rural to urban areas is evident since individuals tend to look for the gleaming city life. Moreover, young children migrate from rural areas of Ethiopia to the urban areas in order to avail educational access. (ESRC Research Group, 2006).
According to FSCE (2008), every year children are trafficked in large numbers particularly from Amhara, Oromiya and Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples Regional States to Addis Ababa. FSCE further disclosed that, the statistical information obtained for about four consecutive years (2004-2007) shows that domestic child trafficking is dramatically increasing. From 2004-2007 a total of 2243 children were trafficked from rural areas to Addis Ababa. The data also shows that every year, children are trafficked in large numbers particularly from Amhara, Oromiya and Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples Regional States to Addis Ababa (FSCE, 2008). A baseline study conducted by MCDP on Child Trafficking in ChenchaWoreda of GamogofaZone, revealed that male children are mainly trafficked from this location for the purpose of engaging them on weaving activities (MCDP, 2004).
The study conducted by IOM (2006) on Trafficking in women and children in Ethiopia also depicted that, every day, large number of children and young girls flock from various corners of the rural areas to the major cities either forced or deceived by traffickers and their close relatives. It was inspired from the study that the trends of trafficking in children from rural areas of Amhara Regional State to Addis Ababa and or the regional towns mainly for the purpose of prostitution and domestic works. Another route was identified form Gamogofa Zone of the Southern Region Nation Nationalities and Peoples Regional State, through which boys are trafficked for the purpose of engaging them in the traditional weaving industry.
A clear psychological investigation conducted by different scholars in Ethiopia uncovered some facts regarding children’s problems whether trafficking, migration etc may be a reflection of an authoritarian cultural orientation; and several activities, and decisions containing the specific child bearing (Ehetu cited in Belay Tefera, 2006) to ways of child rearing (Abraham; Habtamu quoted by Belay Tefera, 2006) are adult-centered and fulfill the interest of adults than children.In Ethiopia, most parents continue breading as many children as they can (Assefa;Dilnessaw cited in Belay Tefera, 2006) without sufficient source of revenue since children by per se are capable of making money, and which they are considered as the properties of their parents whenever they could be exploited (Eheteu quoted by Belay Tefera, 2006).CSA Ethiopia (2005) even revealed many of Ethiopia parents tend to have more than 8 children per a woman that may facilitate the situation for child labor exploitation, trafficking , migration and any form of maltreatment.
UNICEF (2007) has identified poverty, large family size, rapid urbanization among others as the major factor why many children are vulnerable to trafficking. Parents with large family are often prone to those traffickers deceit in giving away some of their children to city residents or even strangers promising a better life for them. Trafficking deprives child victims the privilege to exercise their wide range of rights, including the right to belong and identify, the right to freedom, education among others. ANPPCAN(2010).
The United Nations General Assembly (1990) attempted to indicate the causes of migration comprehensively. The agency claimed that migration has tremendous etiologies, and usually explained as due to interdependent factors like that of deficiencies in the economic, social and cultural dimensions.There are other specific factors that may cause child migration and trafficking. For instance, death of parents.(De Lang, 2007; Forum on Street Children Ethiopia, 2003); physical abuse by parents/guardians.(Forum on Street Children Ethiopia, 2004; Habtamu, 2006).Experiences from America and Western societies reveal that urbanization and industrialization increase the demand for cheap labor. In the 19th Century, this resulted in requirement for child labor in the cities of Europe and North America. This is paralleled today by the high demand for child labor in the manufacturing industries in India and other South Asian countries, particularly in the informal, unregulated sector of the economy (Dottridge, 2006). Such trends are also reflective in Ethiopia since children get in to trafficking from the southern part of Ethiopia; for example, from Chencha district to Addis Ababa for weaving, whereas from Wolaita areas to Arsi and Bale to take part in farming activity and herding. (Endashaw, et al., 2006).
The vast majority of human trafficking studies in Ethiopia deal with the misery which Ethiopian victims of human trafficking experience in the destination areas. Majority of the studies focus on the life experiences, recruitment process, and expectation of those returned victims of human trafficking. There is lack of research in Ethiopia on the factors that affecting child trafficking face in the home or village and trafficking process, on the trafficking trajectories of victims, and on the operation and networks of traffickers. As a result there is a limited understanding of the factors that affecting child trafficking and trafficking trajectories of child trafficking victims in Ethiopia. There is also a poor understanding of the networks of traffickers and their modes of operation. In general the current state of knowledge about child trafficking in Ethiopia is poor and insufficient.
Overall, overviews of the available studies show that there is lack of any comprehensive research carried out in relation to all aspects of child trafficking in Ethiopia. The majority of information available in this area is focused on the exploitation and life experiences of victims, their expectations before migration, and the prospects and challenges of work migration. These studiesmay not accurately reflect the trafficking trajectories of victims and the problems they face before and in the trafficking process; and the networks and modes of operation of traffickers.