West Africa: Children as young as 3 years old are being exploited as domestic and agricultural workers in several countries. Some parents ‘lease’ their offspring to Arab Gulf states, Lebanon and Europe for as little as 15 dollars. Traffickers promise children, many who are orphans, with quality schooling and vocational training abroad. In September 2001, a boat ferrying hundreds of trafficked girls sank off the coast of Cameroon, killing nine. Other cases document girls being treated as virtual slaves, forced to work day and night peddling goods in the market, fetching water and caring for young children. Most endure beatings and psychological abuse, including death threats and warnings that they will never see their parents again. Girls who escape sleep on the street, knock on the doors of churches, or accept invitations into the homes of strangers. Some are driven into prostitution and become victims of AIDS.
Wondering what this is all about? Read my post explaining why and how I’m commemorating Lent this year.
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