Meet the Ethiopian Hairdresser Who Helps Sex Workers and Migrants

Every year, it is estimated that tens of thousands of Ethiopians travel illegally to the oil-rich Gulf states in search of better paid work. Since April 2020, more than 15,000 women migrants have returned to Ethiopia, according to U.N. data. Thomson Reuters reports that migrants - some deported, some voluntarily repatriated after losing their jobs - have been helped by the government and charities to return home to remote villages and towns across the vast Horn of Africa nation. For the many who have opted to stay in Addis Ababa, however, life can be hard and sex work is a way to survive. Thomson Reuters correspondent Emeline Wuilbercq talks to a former migrant who now runs a tiny beauty salon in the city's biggest red-light district. While styling their hair, Yenenesh Tilahun gives advice to sex workers at risk of being trafficked and to returning migrants who have joined the sex trade. Yenenesh's salon is a refuge where these women can relax and take care of themselves - with a shoulder to cry on if needed.

Former migrant worker Yenenesh Tilahun and her associate Saba Belete pose in their beauty salon in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, February 24, 2021.

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