Covid-19 Pandemic Could Fuel Sexual Exploitation in Ethiopia

Interviews with a dozen sex workers - five of them underage - social workers, activists and officials in the Amhara region have found efforts to stop child sexual exploitation are falling short or have been interrupted by the impact of Covid-19. Outreach efforts and police raids to find children trapped in the sex trade stopped in April in some parts of Amhara as authorities are now focused on enforcing a Covid-19 state of emergency. The ensuing rise in sexual exploitation of children has led to calls for more federal government funds from local officials. Campaigners say some girls were pushed by rural families to find jobs in cities where sex work was often the only viable source of income. Others say it is a way to pay smugglers to take them to Saudi Arabia or Europe in search of a better life, writes Emeline Wuilbercq for Thomson Reuters Foundation.


A sex worker poses for a photo in a drop-in center in Metema, Ethiopia.

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