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Transit center supports victims of child exploitation

Boy learning car mechanic skills at the transit center in N’Zerekore.PHOTO: Plan staff
Boy learning car mechanic skills at the transit center in N’Zerekore.

PHOTO: Plan staff
November 29, 2010

“I am a 14-year-old orphan and I don’t go to school. And I have a child to care for,” said Aminata* who once worked as a prostitute.

Aminata’s story is a common one across the continent of Africa, where children are often the victims of poverty and abuse, and are subjected to trafficking and forced labor.

Guinea is a country of origin, transit and destination for trafficking children for forced labor in agriculture, mining, begging, domestic work and sexual exploitation. Many come from rural areas and lack even the most basic education.

A Plan project in Guinea, “Stop Exploitive Work and Educate Children for Tomorrow” is focusing on removing children from these situations, providing them with education and re-integrating children with their families by establishing transit centers.

Changing lives

One such transit center was established by Plan and field partner INADER in N’Zerekore, in southeastern Guinea, to prevent trafficking and assist children who are already victims. At the center, nearly 8,000 children, aged 5 to 17 have been either protected or removed from the situations of trafficking and child labor to enable them to enjoy their childhood and provide them with skills for the future.

“Before, I had to use my body to make a living, now I can benefit from the support offered by the center,” said Aminata.

Supporting multilateral development

Upon arrival to the center, the children are registered, receive needed medical attention and begin the process of restoring their lives and connections to family. The center provides educational supplies and support to allow children to catch up on education. Sessions on health, sexuality, HIV/AIDS, non-violence and citizenship are also offered.

Students participate in cultural and recreational activities – dance, music, drawing, sports and games – and receive training for jobs or continued learning opportunities.

“I learned to sew at the center and then was directed to the tailoring plant in Horoya neighborhood. Now I know how to identify sewing equipment, take measurements and make a simple sewing pattern. Now I will be able to earn money to take care of myself and my baby,” said Aminata.

Plan and partners take action

Plan has been working in Guinea since 1989, to fight child trafficking and to meet the increasing need for basic education. The project “Stop Exploitive Work and Educate Children for Tomorrow” was funded by the US Department of Labor to address these needs.

Learn more about Plan’s work in Guinea

* Name changed for child protection reasons

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