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CenHTRO Projects Help 14 Survivors of Human Trafficking in Sierra Leone

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

CenHTRO 3Q Impact

The Center on Human Trafficking Research & Outreach (CenHTRO) at the University of Georgia School of Social Work continues to make a measurable impact in caring for survivors of human trafficking in Sierra Leone. 

Between April 1 and June 30, CenHTRO, through its implementing partner World Hope International (WHI), identified and assisted in 14 new cases of human trafficking in Sierra Leone, where CenHTRO works to reduce the prevalence of child trafficking through its African Programming and Research Initiative to End Slavery (APRIES) project. 

These new cases prove the growing effectiveness of CenHTRO’s anti-trafficking network to protect survivors in the West African country, and that awareness-raising activities at all levels of Sierra Leone society are yielding results. 

Learn more about CenHTRO’s research on child trafficking in Sierra Leone

Recent identified cases involved perpetrators attempting to remove children from Sierra Leone to be labor trafficked in Guinea or Mauritania. Some cases involved sex trafficking. Two cases showed abuse of the menpikin practice, a traditional and informal fostering system in which a child is sent to live with a relative or stranger in hopes of securing better opportunities. Read more about menpikin in CenHTRO’s baseline research. (PDF)  

Four survivors received shelter services at the WHI Recovery Centre, an undisclosed residential facility in the capital city, Freetown, where trafficking survivors receive trauma-informed care and support. CenHTRO works closely with WHI to ensure survivors receive high-quality protective services at the Centre. Other survivors received counseling, healthcare, and educational opportunities at shelters near their home communities. 

CenHTRO, WHI, and the Sierra Leone anti-trafficking network also helped advance the prosecution of new trafficking cases. Five survivors received legal services. Four new child trafficking investigations were opened, two individuals were arrested in child trafficking cases, and one new prosecution began. Strong relationships with Sierra Leone government agencies, law enforcement, and judicial entities made progress in these cases possible. 

The activities described in this article were funded by a grant from the United States Department of State. The opinions, findings, and conclusions stated herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the United States Department of State.