Thousands benefit from PPE in Ethiopia as Hope for Justice tackles slavery

Thousands of face masks, soaps and other items of personal protective equipment (PPE) have been provided to vulnerable households and frontline workers in the fight against modern slavery, thanks to the generosity of Hope for Justice’s donors.

The anti-trafficking organisation has provided 5,000 face masks, 10,000 soaps, a water tank and hand sanitiser to three partners who are responding to human trafficking in Ethiopia.

Beneficiaries of the PPE are frontline professionals at Addis Ababa Police Commission who work with Hope for Justice to rescue children out of exploitation, the Addis Ababa Women and Children Affairs Bureau, which supports the charity’s community prevention work, and families living in Addis Ketema Sub-city, who have been identified as particularly vulnerable by the Ministry of Women, Children and Youth (MoWCY).

Dereje Zeleke, Country Programmes Director at Hope for Justice, said: “Many people in the areas we work in are living in poverty and we found that, following the COVID-19 outbreak, many community members were struggling to afford PPE such as hand sanitiser, soap and face masks. The government has made it mandatory for every single person to wear a face mask during the pandemic; you cannot leave your home without one on.

“While we are working to combat slavery and trafficking, we also need to protect children and vulnerable people from COVID-19. The government, who we partner with to tackle the issue of human trafficking, identified a number of vulnerable groups in need of face masks and the Ministry is distributing this equipment to those who are most in need.

“As an organisation working in Addis Ababa, we were also asked by the government to provide face masks at our meetings with those who are working with us to rescue children and facilitate our community prevention work.”

Face masks are therefore also provided at Hope for Justice’s regular community conversations sessions, which exist to bring about social behavioural change.

These sessions are attended by volunteers, government officials and community conversation facilitators and participants. The latter includes domestic workers, waitresses, children working at hotels and other vulnerable individuals, as well as agency workers, brokers, and employers, such as those who own hotels, cafés and small businesses.

The PPE was handed over to the three key partners during an event held at Lydia Lighthouse, one of Hope for Justice’s aftercare centres.

Government officials, including the state minister of Women, Children and Youth, representatives from Addis Ababa Women and Children Affairs Bureau and police commanders attended the event, during which Dereje spoke about the charity’s intervention work, child protection, gender-based violence and human trafficking.

Hope for Justice is grateful to its existing donors, MSIF and Woorden Dann, for helping to fund this equipment and enabling us to support the COVID-19 prevention efforts.