World Vision leads new programme to eradicate child slavery in East Africa

Ngala, a former child soldier in the DRC who is now being helped by World Vision

A four-year programme to eradicate child slavery in three African countries launches today, International Day for the Abolition of Slavery (December 2).

The UK aid backed programme is set to change the lives of over 12,000 children suffering abuse in Ethiopia, Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is funded by a substantial new UK aid package from the Department for International Development (DFID) and headed by international aid agency World Vision UK.

The project will leverage cross-sector partnerships including NGOs, law enforcement and global corporations, while helping children advocate for their own rights.

There are more than 40 million victims of modern slavery worldwide, a quarter of whom are children. This is nothing short of a global tragedy.

Partnering with World Vision and War Child, the UK is prioritising the protection of children from the worst forms of child labour and trafficking. Through our UK Aid Connect programme we are helping businesses root out child labour from supply chains, educating children on the often-hidden risks of trafficking and helping provide a platform for their experiences to be heard.

Child labour and trafficking is a shameful stain on our global conscience and together, we must stamp it out for good.

- Penny Mordaunt, Secretary of State for International Development

Tim Pilkington, CEO of World Vision UK, said: “Forced labour robs millions of children of their childhoods all over the world. Children as young as five are coerced into working long hours on back-breaking tasks. They are forcibly recruited into armed conflict, used in prostitution or pornography, trafficked or engaged in dangerous manual work like mining. Many children are also physically and sexually abused.

“This programme will have global impact, giving countless numbers of physically, emotionally and psychologically-shattered children the hope of a real childhood again. We must amplify their voices and allow them to demand the changes they need.”

World Vision UK will lead a consortium of organisations, including War Child UK, Thomson Reuters Foundation and Columbia University.

The programme will begin in the summer of 2019 and include:

  • a mentoring scheme to support local lawyers, policy makers and other government officials to help tackle child labour at a national level and bring perpetrators to justice.
  • a reintegration scheme to help children rescued from child labour.
  • provision of appropriate, safe, sustainable livelihood alternatives for families.
  • work with businesses to raise awareness of child labour and eradicate it from their supply chains at a local and global level.
  • media coverage to highlight child slavery issues.
  • research to generate evidence of child labour and the most effective ways to tackle it.

Rob Williams, CEO of War Child UK, said: “It’s not acceptable that children all over the world are having their childhoods taken from them. What they experience now will stay with them for life so it’s vital that we provide the support they need. Working together with World Vision and the other organisations will allow us to change even more lives.

“Alongside this work we also have a responsibility as organisations and people, with the support of the UK government to create opportunities for the voices of children to be heard. No one knows better about what affects them most than they do. After this our job most important job is to listen, only then can we deliver the change that is required.”

Monique Villa, CEO of the Thomson Reuters Foundation, said: “The Thomson Reuters Foundation is proud to contribute our expertise to this project. We will shed light on the issue of child labour through our dedicated team of journalists, we will spread journalism excellence through our training programmes, and we will enable access to justice through TrustLaw, our pro bono legal network. 25 per cent of the 40.3 million slaves in the world are children and we all have the responsibility to fight this crime, the worst of all human crimes.”

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