By Stefan Lako, Programs Director
Imagine a world in which you need to choose between starving with your children or selling one of them in order to survive.
This is exactly the dilemma facing the majority of families living in rural Benin. According to a recent survey that our field team conducted, 53% of families sell at least one of their children. The reasons for needing to sell their children are all the same, poverty and the inability to provide the necessities to survive.
There is hope, however. Our Anti-Trafficking Initiative is providing families an alternative to selling their children. According to the same survey, 91% of women who have joined our microfinance program no longer send their children away.
This is a drastic swing in probability and is evidence that our program is achieving its goal of reducing the rate of trafficking in Benin.
What is even more incredible is that not only are women sending away significantly fewer children, but almost half the women who had previously sent away children have brought at least one of their children back since joining the microfinance program. In total, 39 children have already been freed from slavery because women have been given the opportunity to generate income, and this number continues to grow.
The scope of trafficking on the global scale can be daunting, but through small and calculated efforts significant changes can be made. Through empowering local mothers, children and their families receive hope and possibilities of a life of freedom.
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and restore families.
*The survey was conducted by ORR’s ATI Team in rural Benin. In total there were 152 participants, please go to our website for more information.