ENSAIO FINALISTA DE ANA PALACIOS
What happens after a slave child escapes? How can a shattered childhood be put back together?
This report shows how 21st-century slave children are returned to society. It shows us that there is a back door that thousands of West African children find to cross through in the part of the world with the worst child exploitation problem focusing on girl’s stories.
Thousands of youngsters on the west coast of Africa are sold by their families for paltry amounts, such as 30 euros, in exchange for a vague promise of a better life, which turns out to be a life of slavery, subjected to physical and psychological abuse, working from dawn to dusk, far from their places of origin and families for years.
In cities, children in slavery are mainly forced to sell things in the street (popcorn, bags of drinking water, bread, peanuts…) while in the countryside, these children are sold to landowners who have cocoa and coffee plantations, where they are used to harvest the crops. If they do not satisfy their owners by selling all the goods, they are often beaten or starved. But it is even worse for girls, because when night falls and they have finished their chores, they are often sexual abused by their owners.