Over the past few years Hope for Children has witnessed a worrying trend in Ethiopia.
Hundreds of thousands of women and children are migrating to the Middle East in search of perceived ‘better opportunities’ and higher-paying jobs.

anti human trafficking 1Some migrant workers, using irregular channels to arrive at their destination, are vulnerable to physical and psychological abuse – both on their journey and at the hands of their employers.

Hope for Children’s anti-trafficking program, the Anti-Human Trafficking initiative, focuses on strengthening the life skills of young and vulnerable women and building their capacity for brighter economic futures in Ethiopia.

anti human trafficking 2We work closely with communities to develop community-based initiatives and come up with short and long term action plans to support economic development for those most at risk of being trafficked.

Self Help Groups, or collective savings and loans are key to the strategy, as well as the provision of quality vocational skills training so that vulnerable women can gain access to employment opportunities in the Ethiopian workforce.

Key Facts

Meet Kassach

kassach 1
Kassach, 38, is an educator at AGAR
, one of Addis Ababa’s only rehabilitation centres for returned victims of human trafficking who require psychiatric support.

Kassach is an Ambassador for the Anti-human Trafficking program, speaking regularly at events for returnee women.

kassach 2Kassach was just 12 when she was abducted from her town in southern Ethiopia and forced to marry a much older husband. After years of failed runaway attempts, Kassach successfully escaped, seeking a new life, an education, and a new husband.

Her second marriage gave her two children, but when it ended she was left desperate to earn a living. Kassach migrated to Sudan and then Kuwait to find new opportunities to better support her children.

kassach 3For nine months, Kassach was exploited as a domestic maid in the Middle East. She worked around the clock – cooking, cleaning, and looking after the children. Yet the mistress of the house refused to pay her.

When Kassach finally demanded her pay – explaining she needed to send money home to her children – the family dragged her to the nearby police station.

At the station Kassach was incarcerated and denied food for more than two days. She was then drugged and repeatedly gang-raped by police officers.

When they finally dumped her at a shelter managed by the Ethiopian Embassy in Kuwait, she was suffering severe internal injuries from the rape. She recalls being suicidal by the time the Embassy flew her back to Addis Ababa.

Kassach became pregnant as a result of the rape. She was admitted to a hospital in the Ethiopian capital for treatment of her physical and mental injuries. After months of treatment, Kassach ultimately gave birth to a beautiful baby boy.

Today, Kassach is proud of her two elder children who are both studying at university. Her boy, now 4 years old, is active and healthy. Although she cannot bring back her previous life, she is grateful to AGAR rehabilitation centre for getting her through this difficult time and keeping her alive to care for her children. “I believe that young people can learn from my story,” Kassach says. “There are still people who turn a deaf ear to the risks of going to Middle Eastern countries. I hope my story can help them.”