Project information

Combating Child Slavery in Ethiopia

This project will support vulnerable children who are tragically subject to exploitation & modern day slavery. Retrak will work to reduce child vulnerability, offer victim support across our centres, return children to a safe family setting, improve legislation & encourage slave free business.

January 2018 - December 2018

Charity information: Retrak - Inspiring Street Children

Retrak - Inspiring Street Children logo
  • Need


    There are over 11,000 children estimated to live on the streets in Addis Ababa, due to poverty and the breakdown of family relationships. Once on the street, many children suffer unthinkable circumstances, including malnourishment, physical & sexual abuse. These children are vulnerable to exploitation and recruitment into prostitution or domestic slavery, with the promise of food & protection. The situation is desperate, worsened by the lack of legislation to protect children


    Retrak will work with communities to educate them on the realities of slavery and selling their children to employers. We will educate girls already living on the street to make positive decisions about their future. Retrak's centres will offer food, medicine, shelter, education, counselling and family reintegration to street children and slavery survivors. We will educate employers on children's rights, and we will finally engage with the government on the gap in legislation regarding slavery.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Reduce children's vulnerability to exploitation


    » Run rural self help groups to address poverty, establish savings for the poorest women in the community, discuss parenting, trafficking, and slavery.
    » Establish child protection clubs in schools to address peer pressure, female empowerment, life in the city, slavery and coping with family issues.
    » Conduct community awareness raising to address the lack of knowledge about children’s rights, migration, trafficking, life in the city and slavery.

    M&E officer to report on the development of savings between self help group members, community and student's knowledge on slavery and healthy families.

    Aim 2

    Victim support and recovery


    » Retrak’s street outreach workers will contact girls on the move as they arrive from rural communities, build trust & tell them about Retrak's centres
    » Children who leave work and join our programme will receive food, 24/7 shelter, medical care, education, life-skills training and counselling.
    » When children are ready, they will be reintegrated with their families and if this is not possible they are placed in long-term foster care.
    » Families are supported to build their economic strength and are given parenting skills support. Families & children will be followed up for 2 years.

    M&E officer to report on number of children enrolling and completing our programme, and the continued wellbeing of children once reintegrated as recorded in follow up visits.

    Aim 3

    Improve law, legislation and policy in place to protect children from modern day slavery


    » Retrak has signed an MoU with the Ethiopian Federal Police to work collaboratively to identify girls trapped in slavery
    » Retrak will work with the Ministry of Women and Children’s Affairs to address to gap in legislation to protect children from slavery.
    » Retrak will work with the Addis Ababa Bureau of Women and Children‘s Affairs to establish guidelines for protecting children from modern day slavery.

    This will be demonstrated through the developments made with partnering government departments on addressing legislation gaps and creating guidelines.

    Aim 4

    Promote responsible business and slave-free supply Chains


    » Conduct conversations with employers and communities addressing welfare concerns, exploitative labour, child protection and child rights
    » Facilitate community conversations with domestic workers to give workers a voice and highlight concerns.
    » Conduct conversations with both employers and domestic workers for each to hear the others’ perspective and to determine an onward action plan.

    M&E officer to report on developments made through community and business intervention conversations.

  • Impact


    This programme aims to reduce the number of children falling into slavery, increase awareness on slavery risks & increase the number of child workers transitioning into our programme; the figures for which will all be evidenced in our M&E reports. Retrak is the only NGO working on addressing and preventing modern slavery in Ethiopia with intervention for victims, changing legislation and the supply chain. Our evidence-based practice is of great value for supporting future legislative change.


    A risk could be that the Ethopian government no longer wish to accept guidance from NGO's on the matter of modern day slavery. We have however worked to mitigate this risk by signing an MOU with the Ethiopian Federal Police, Women and Children’s Division, in addition to establishing a a long-established working relationship with the Ministry of Women and Children’s Affairs (MoWCA) and the Addis Ababa Bureau of Women and Children‘s Affairs (BoWCA).


    Our communications manager will report to donors with regular social media and email updates on the developments within this project.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £292,000

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      Amount Heading Description
      £90,000 Transition Centre Activities Transition centre support; staff, programme implementation
      £63,000 Reintegration Reintegrate children into safe family, community or foster care settings. Social workers follow up.
      £15,000 Education and Skills training Providing catchup numeracy, literacy and arts classes in addition to vocational training.
      £19,000 Medical Care Providing a Nurse, medication and follow up care
      £40,000 Self Help Group Implementation Establish Self Help Groups and networks in high risk rural communities
      £21,000 Legislative Development Providing a justice team to work with the government to tackle gaps in anti slavery legislation
      £20,000 Business groups Establish working groups with businesses at risk of accepting slave workers.
      £24,000 Child Protection Clubs Establish child protection clubs in schools for awareness raising activities

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Oak Foundation £20,594 Guaranteed
    Save The Children £101,000 Guaranteed
    Woord En Daad £45,666 Guaranteed
    FHI 360 £106,890 Guaranteed
    Australian Embassy £3,597 Guaranteed
  • Background


    Our project is based in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia, home to over an estimated 11,000 street children. Many of these children are involved in modern day slavery and domestic work. As a group these children have low levels of education (up to 28% have never been to school), who migrated at age 14-15 years on average. 85% of domestic workers and 60% of commercial sex workers come to Addis from rural areas. They migrated in the context of poverty, arranged marriage and family disputes.


    Children currently within or vulnerable to modern day slavery will hugely benefit from the provision of a viable, sustainable alternative future than that they are already on the path towards. Communities and businesses will benefit from increased education about the true consequences of their actions. Families will be better protected against subjecting their children to harm.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    In Ethiopia Retrak is the only NGO working on prevention of modern slavery of domestic workers, intervention for victims and addressing legislation and the supply chain. We have a strong relationship with relevant government bodies and we are in a resourced, able position to effectively combat this issue.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Maggie Crewes

    Director of Programmes, design and implementation of the project