The  elderly in the fight against human trafficking


Psychologists assert that peer pressure has a strong effect. This pressure reaches its zenith at adolescence. Youths finding themselves in such a winding path easily yield to temptations. As studies conducted on HIV and AIDS indicate, upon joining universities, buckling under peer pressure some students,no longer chaperoned by parents, develop untoward behaviors such as smoking,chewing ‘Chat’ and taking the night out in night clubs.


And hence at this age milestones instead of heeding to the counsel of parents most youths are lured by fantasy packed adventures their friends talk them into. That is why expectant of a rosy future abroad, blind to the possibility of shaping one’s destiny with resources and opportunities at hand, many risking their life go abroad to face tragic ends.


As the old adage goes, “Advise him time and again but if your advice is rebuffed let misfortune do the advising!”surprisingly some youths duped by the advice of peers and brokers still dare to go abroad. They seem unwilling to give ear to the advice those who took a lesson the hardest way at a foreign land relate to them citing instances drawn from practical experiences. Like a ship to the altar they get easily smuggled to the middle east by illegal means. As such they get exposed to the risk of harsh working conditions,substandard accommodations,economic exploitation,sexual harassment,abuse,domestic servitude including the removal of organs.


“Sobbing, I advise my sisters not to go abroad specially the middle east for, with no ally to turn to, it is a harrowing life that awaits them there” is what a girl called Helena told to Helard’s Society Column Editor recently. From what we surmise from talk and live shows on TV, the lives of people who go to other parts of the world including to the west seem to have no better picture following the economic down-slide powerful nations encountered.


Some parents either pushed by penury or overwhelmed by the desire of gleaning money that could supposedly afford them an affluent life dare to pull the noose on the neck of their children urging them or facilitating to them an illegal or legal ways of going abroad. An article on the public relation bureau publications of the Social and Labor Affair Ministry draws attention to the pitiful state of a husband who now regrets and laments sending his wife to the middle east wrongly thinking such a move could change their family to the better.

“Sending her to the middle east, while we were expecting money it is her body I and her children received in not less than a month time. What happened to me is a thing I will live to regret. Here we were leading an average life happily.”


Rooting out the wrong mentality of ‘It is better there than here!’ entrenched in the psyche of the society has turned exigent. It is out of this belief the Addis Ababa City Administration Labor and Social Affairs Bureau this week underscored the role of elderly people in mitigating human trafficking through curbing family and peer pressure,changing the attitude of the public and driving home the possibility of mollifying life at home.


Knowledge management is one of the areas Ethiopia needs strengthen in addressing socioeconomic hurdles that poses a challenge to it. At this juncture, it is worthwhile to mention the role self help associations lead by senior citizens played in containing HIV and AIDS that was spreading at a breakneck speed.


Whenever fracases surface between husbands and wives, relatives or neighbors, among others, it is to the council of elders citizens present their cases before making a resort to the court. As elders see the psychological aspect too,their role in brokering peace and shaping the outlook of the society sailing the tide of time it still gets its importance felt.


The elderly, who are considered repository of knowledge or a library in developing countries and who command the respect of citizens, wield a great influence on citizens. The wise could learn from the wrong turns of others. As the elderly have a wealth of knowledge of life the youth could learn a lot from them. The elderly see the past through the youth while the youth see the future through the elderly. Hence arranging forums where they come together to discuss knotty issues is beneficial.

The country could harness this virtue in sensitizing youths against illegal migration and nurturing love for the country the flag and labor. In inspiring youths to contribute their share to the nation building task engaging in various ventures as well as to make them appreciate life by the sweat of one’s brow here in motherland, elders could play an indispensable role.


The on going various programs on combating illegal human trafficking could turn a hit fast, if bolstered by the participation of all segments of the society most importantly by the elderly.