Last updated 3 years ago
One of the challenges facing children as they grow up is trafficking for domestic servitude or for any other work that deprives them of their right to an education and often puts them at risk of other forms of abuse. Singida is one of the regions that is leading in trafficking of children in Tanzania. In July 2020, we started working to address this problem by engaging children in schools, parents through local and religious leaders and other influential people as well as through radio awareness programmes.
One important aspect of addressing trafficking is ensuring that all actors involved are well trained, have the capacity to prevent and respond to cases of child trafficking, and are able to share experiences and lessons with each other. This helps to strengthen synergies between them and also strengthens local child protection systems.
A two-day experience sharing meeting was held on 24th and 25th of September 2020 in Singida. The gathering which brough together a total 23 frontline service providers Local Government Authorities (LGAs) from Ilongero ward, Community Based Organizations (CBOs) and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) that are working with Government to support child protection programs.
The 2-day experience sharing meeting was meant to capacitate the LGAs and share experience between different CBOs / CSOs on how to handle Violence Against Children (VAC) cases focusing on child trafficking for domestic servitude and the achievement gained through our filed work on #Mfanyakazi project.
Faraja Centre, a Community Based Organisation (CBO) that works hard in Singida region to contribute on eradication of human trafficking, shared their experience as they have dealt with 10 cases of human trafficking with 23 victims who were mostly children. They shared how they were able to refer all the survivors to restoration centers for their protection and development.
We also shared our experiences on how schools, Local Government Authorities (LGAs) and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) can work together in handling cases of child trafficking for domestic work, challenges we’ve so far encountered and cases we’ve handled so far. One case is of a girl named Rose* which we encountered during one of our school outreaches.
“Rose is a STD VI student that was trafficked to a region in northern Tanzania for domestic work. Thanks to the efforts of teachers and the LGAs Rose was returned home. Unfortunately, she was deeply affected; during the time she was away from home, Rose had been sexually abused. Not too long after returning home, Rose ran away again but this time she was more confident, convincing 3 other children to go with her. Once again, teachers worked hard to look for them and they managed to rescue all the girls. During our school visit, the teachers shared the case with us. The DSWO is now following up on the case and the police gender & children’s desk is investigating it further. Rose’s peers are back in school and Rose is receiving further support from the social welfare officers and her teachers. Hopefully, she will be able to heal and be reintegrated back into her community.”
The moral gained through this experience sharing with LGA’s and CSO’s is that there are existing gaps between local service providers in dealing with VAC cases, but also the role that teachers play in prevention and protecting children. In seeing this, we work to demonstrate the importance of each local service provider in child protection system so as to strengthen it and encourage timely communication between actors so that children are better protected.
Since starting our work in Singida, we’ve been able to reach 5 schools where we’ve reached 3,465 children in schools. Our approach, listening to children by asking them to write their feelings using our Happy and Sad opinion letters approach. In this way, we not only create awareness about VAC and child trafficking but also gather their concerns and learn of challenges they face which we address during community dialogues, radio programmes and capacity building.
This project is co-implemented with BRIS, the Swedish Childline with financial support from Forum Syd.
This story was written by Singida Field Team and compiled by C-Sema’s Media Team.