(I wrote this post at the end of the year, but never got round to publishing it, so here goes)
The AP reports that there is an increase of child trafficking from Africa to the US.
Around one-third of the estimated 10,000 forced laborers in the United States are servants trapped behind the curtains of suburban homes, according to a study by the National Human Rights Center at the University of California at Berkeley and Free the Slaves, a nonprofit group. No one can say how many are children, especially since their work can so easily be masked as chores.
The story of ten-year old Shyima, a child-maid, told through interviews and court records is ugly. She was worked to the bone.
Eventually, neighbors alerted the police. Shyima then went from one foster home to the next. Now 17, she finally had her day in court.
Her parents back home were confident that her life in the US would be a bed of roses. The garage that she slept in , in their opinion, even with no ventilation was much better than the hut with a leaking roof that her 11-member family sleep in.
Article on Shymia here.
The challenges of solving child trafficking is three-fold: because of its international nature its harder to catch the perperators, secondly in many communities child labor is normal, and poverty. Like Shymia’s parents many people are willing to give up their children to work because they are sure that their children’s lives will improve. Who doesn’t want a better life for their children.