Combatting Modern Slavery in Ethiopia


Every child deserves to grow up in freedom. Yet there are millions of children worldwide who are trapped in a system of modern slavery. This pressing and demanding challenge of our time brings us to jointly combat modern slavery by breaking the chains of exploitative child labour in Ethiopia.

Drivers of exploitative child labour

Around 50% of all children in Ethiopia are engaged in child labour (2015, Child Labour Survey by ILO). As shown in our Problem Analysis, these children are lead to exploitative labour by a combination of factors and actors within their family and communities, as well as by lacking policies and strategies within governments, judicial actors and civil society. A significant part of the children carry out hazardous work that negatively influences their health, education and wellbeing.

Our strategies

The prevalence and scope of modern slavery in Ethiopia has to be reduced. We believe that we can reach change by an approach of prevention, restoration and capacity strengthening.

We reach out to potential victims, raise awareness regarding rights, and support and strengthen mechanisms to prevent exploitative labour, including economic empowerment.

We rescue victims, provide safety and shelter during rehabilitation and reintegrate them into families and society.

Capacity strengthening
We train and guide the communities, civil society, judicial actors, private actors and government to strengthen the child protection system e.g. by improving implementation of (inter)national standards and research.

What we want to accomplish

  • 6,300 vulnerable children (aged 6-14) have an improved personal resilience and have improved access to well-being services and well-functioning justice systems.
  • 1,345 victims of exploitation in child (domestic) labour are reintegrated in society.
  • 199,870 families and communities are strengthened in capacity and assets + 18,455 households are economically supported.
  • 6,811 child protection and law enforcement actors (government, judicial actors and civil society) have implemented appropriate policies and strategies
  • Researches are executed that facilitate learnings in the topics of modern child slavery.

The existing discriminatory norms regarding gender are a risk for girls to fall prey to child labour. That’s why we have a specific focus on girls. We address the gender aggregation in relation to the push and pull factors of modern slavery, trafficking, migration and child labour. Including families and communities in the prevention and awareness raising activities is important.

About the CMS-consortium

Woord en Daad is the initiator of the CMS-consortium (Combat Modern Slavery). The four implementing partners of this project are: Hiwot Integrated Development Organization, Digital Opportunity Trust, Hope for Justice and Justice for All. OSSREA supports us in research and evaluation. This three-year project (2021-2023) is for 60% funded by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD). For the other 40% we raise other sources of funding.

Feel free to contact us!

Ephrem Shiferaw (Ethiopia)
Phone: +251 911 078 128

Marike Spruyt (The Netherlands)
Phone: +31 183 611 800


Reunited with her parents after being kept as a slave for a year

7-year-old Demekech* grows up in a village in rural Ethiopia. When a relative promised her a good education in the city, Demekech decided to leave her hometown. But when she arrived, she had to do most of the housework, and was forbidden from going to school. ‘I was abused physically and emotionally. My captors told me that my scalp infection was ‘dirty’, and forced me to sleep on the floor so they would not ‘catch’ it.’

One day, Demekech bravely took her chance to escape when she saw the door was unlocked. ‘I was found by the police, who referred me to one of Hope for Justice’s Lighthouses in Ethiopia.’ Upon arrival, Demekech was emaciated, and would hold her head down in shame.  ‘I was shy and didn’t want to take part in catch-up lessons or play with the other children. But after three months of counselling sessions, I became more confident and started to join in and make friends. I am grateful that the team worked hard to find and contact my parents. After a whole year of separation, I was reunited with my family. I now live with my parents again and I am back at school!’

*Name has been changed to protect her identity

Support our combat against modern slavery

Without the commitment and generosity of our donors, we would not be able to break the chains of exploitative labour in Ethiopia. It is for that reason that your donation is more than welcome.

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