Freedom from Slavery: Is it Possible?

Achunji Anguaseh Jamils Richard, BS & Brenda Ntonyang Abanda | September 21 | 9:00-10:00 AM

Topic: Research, International | Knowledge Level: Intermediate

In December 2005, child trafficking and slavery was made crime in Cameroon. Despite this recognition, very few prosecutions have been made for child trafficking in Cameroon. This ongoing study examines the self-recovery efforts of survivors in Bamenda, North West Region of Cameroon. The project area has been identified by UNICEF and the Cameroon National Institute of Statistics as the main catchment area for child trafficking. This is a tracer study of the recovery efforts of 312 former child slaves, ages 30-45 years. 78% of them are females and 22% are males. The study looks at the economic, professional and family lives of the survivors. 18% of the women are married or had stayed in a marriage for at least ten years. A shocking 52% of survivors have released their own children into slavery, while 64% of the women embraced survival sex work as part of their recovery process. 32% of females got pregnant by their masters and/or relatives. Economic desperation of survival sex workers, “prostitutes”, is very high with most of them living in slums, attempting to operate petty business. Few have become slavers, recruiting other desperate survivors into yet another form of slavery where survivors lacking marketable skills become prostitutes under the control of a retired prostitute who sets the rules of the game, which promote peer abuse of the slaves by each other. The presenters recommend long-term recovery programs for victims and survivors as a major way to break the vicious cycle of childhood slavery in Cameroon.

Presentation Objectives:

·  Address challenges of supporting survivors of child trafficking in Cameroon.

·  Examine the efforts and challenges of rebuilding the lives of survivors.

·  Emphasize the need to engage in research and development of tools for long term recovery of survivors.

About the Presenters