Freedom for 12-year-old trafficking survivor who was told her mother was dead

A 12-year-old Ethiopian girl is now safely home after being forced into domestic work, abused, and led to believe that her mother was dead.

Tizita* had recently become a big sister when a neighbour’s relative offered her education and a better life in the city. With Tizita’s father constantly away with the military, and another mouth to feed, Tizita’s mother agreed to the plan.

But once Tizita arrived, she was forced to cook, clean and look after a baby, and was physically and verbally abused. She wasn’t allowed to go to school.

When Tizita asked to contact her mother, her captor said she was dead. Distraught, Tizita ran away. A passer-by found her on the street and took her to the police station, before she was taken in by our Lighthouse.

After her ordeal, Tizita would often cry, argue with other children, and would not join in. She could not stop worrying about her baby brother being all alone. Our dedicated team cared for Tizita, and provided her with catch-up education and life skills classes, as well as counselling sessions.

Suspicious about the news of Tizita’s mother, our team also worked tirelessly to discover the truth. Her mother was alive and well, although Tizita didn’t believe this until she spoke to her on the phone. She was jumping, crying and laughing with joy that her mother was on her way. After months of trauma and separation, Tizita ran delightedly into her mother’s arms, while our team celebrated the return of her hope and freedom.

*Name has been changed to protect the identity of the survivor