There are an estimated 614,000 people living in modern slavery in Ethiopia. Girls from Ethiopia’s impoverished rural areas are exploited in domestic servitude and commercial sex within the country, while boys are subjected to forced labour in traditional weaving, construction, agriculture, and street vending. Addis Ababa’s central market is the site of numerous brothels, where some young girls are exploited in commercial sex. Ethiopian girls are exploited in domestic servitude and commercial sex in neighbouring African countries, particularly Djibouti and Sudan. According to a 2017 report by UNICEF, 40% of girls are married by the time they turn 18. They found that Ethiopia has the 15th highest prevalence rate of child marriage in the world and the fifth highest absolute number of child brides – 2,104,000.
Addis was forced to get married when she was just 11 years old.
My name is Addis Bekalu. I am 18 years old. When I was 11 years old my father said, “We are going to church.” There they forced me to take my vows with a man from the village. I always asked [my husband] to take me to school. I was very eager to go to school. There was a school near my house, but he wouldn’t allow it.
Narrative provided by Girls Not Brides. Original video by The Girl Effect.