14-year-old boy safe and able to enjoy playing football again

A 14-year-old boy is now safe and on his path to freedom, after being lured away by a trafficker, who forced him to shine shoes and beat him.

Abel* was rescued by Hope for Justice’s outreach workers in Ethiopia, who found him on the street, where Abel had been living after bravely escaping from his captor.

Abel’s family are cow-herders, who were struggling to make ends meet. One day, he was walking home from school, when he was approached by a young man who promised him a good job in the city.

Abel never returned home that day. The man took him straightaway on a 200-mile journey to the city. He then forced Abel to shine shoes, and kept all his earnings, apart from a tiny amount so Abel could buy bread.

After three months, Abel developed a stomachache and could not work. The man beat him with an electric cable. The next day, Abel escaped, and spent a few days on the street before our team found him and brought him to one of our Lighthouses.

Abel has been in our care for the last week. Our team said that he is already becoming more confident, telling them; “I want to be a doctor when I grow up, so that I can help children who are sick”. He has also been playing his favourite game of football with the other children.

Our team will continue to care for Abel, and are working with local police, with the hope of bringing the trafficker to justice. The team will also search for Abel’s family.

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