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Human trafficking is a form of slavery, as traffickers use force, fraud, or coercion to control victims for the purpose of engaging in commercial sex acts or labor services against his or her will. Economic hardship, political instability, early marriages, lack of a safe environment for children, and discrimination – all symptoms of poverty – are the root causes of human trafficking.

Africa makes up 23% of the total global population of modern slavery.

Unscrupulous recruiters lure poor and rural children into trafficking with false promises of education, well-paying jobs, and a better life. They are forced to pay off debts for transportation and health and living expenses oftentimes enduring physical and sexual abuse and are incessantly intimidated and threatened.

Tanzania is the largest East African Country with a population 52.5 million. 46% of the population is children. 6 million children between the ages of 0 – 14 live below the poverty line. An additional 2 million children are orphaned or abandoned. According to the 2016 CIA World Facts, 21% of all children between the ages of 5 – 17 in Tanzania are trafficked. Dar es Salaam, Tanzania is also a destination point for trafficked girls from source countries like the Central African Republic, Malawi and Zambia where girls can easily be trafficked to foreign countries.


Africa currently has more than 35 non-international armed conflicts (NIACs) taking place in the Central African Republic (CAR), South Sudan, Sudan, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal, and Somalia where tens of thousands of people have been killed and millions more displaced. Militarized conflicts in Africa can be caused by any number of factors such as: arbitrary borders created by the colonial powers, multi-ethnic composition of African states, inept political leadership, corruption, the negative effects of external debt burdens, and simple poverty.

Ongoing Conflicts Worldwide
By Futuretrillionaire, CC BY-SA 3.0,</span?

In addition to internal armed conflict, over 1,700 natural disasters have been reported between 1970 and 2019, causing over 730,000 deaths in Africa. Current environmental conditions have increased the occurrence of wildfires, catastrophic flooding and drought making Africa one of the most vulnerable and hardest-hit continents in the world of climate change.

Drought conditions in Africa

The impact of natural disasters coupled with continued violence, political tensions, war and other armed conflicts across the African continent has had an enduring negative impact on its socio-economic development, promoting widespread poverty and corruption. As one of the poorest continents of the world, 431 million Africans (50% of its rural population) live in extreme poverty with a threshold of $1.90/day.


Male domination, unequal access to education, gender-based violence, forced labor, teen pregnancy, and child marriages prevent women from reaching parity with men. These very issues are only exacerbated when girls are born into poverty or living in a conflict region. 

African women face the highest level of discrimination in laws, social norms and practices. Male dominance, particularly at home, perpetuates gender-based violence. Traditional gender roles often mean that women in Africa do four times more unpaid care and domestic work than men. According to traditions and customs, men are often considered to be the rightful owners of land. Women own 12% of agricultural land, though they represent nearly half of Africa’s agricultural workforce. 28% of the population believes that men make better political leaders. Furthermore, persistent gender-based violence in the political sphere intimidates women and girls from pursuing leadership roles, preventing their voices from being heard on the political stage.

Global Gender inequality

Like the women in Africa, women in India, especially those from poor villages, face gender discrimination because of social norms and practices. Likewise, women in Papua New Guinea are subject to male domination and violence holding women back from reaching parity with men. In fact, Papua New Guinea has one of the highest rates of gender violence in the world, for a country that is not a conflict zone.


The impact of poverty on education remains one of Africa’s most difficult challenges. According to the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), more than 20% of African children between the ages of 6 and 11 do not attend school. Nearly 60% of youth between the ages of 15 and 17 are not enrolled. In Tanzania alone, that is more than 1.3 million children between the ages of 6 and 17 with no formal education.

The education of girls is of particular concern. As girls age they drop out of school at a higher rate than their male counterparts. By the time they reach adolescence, girls have a 36% exclusion rate compared to 32% for boys. 9 million girls on the continent between the ages of 6 and 11 will never attend school, compared to 6 million boys.

Global Out of School Rates
Source: UNESCO

There are several significant barriers to education, especially for children living in poor rural areas. Many countries lack proper infrastructure to develop utilitarian and safe facilities. Some schools have no bathrooms, desks, or chairs. Of the schools that exist, some can be very far away from the kids who need them. Lack of health and nutrition can often prevent children from being able to attend classes.

Culturally, there is a significant number of the population who are skeptical of the need for a formal educationmost especially a formal education for girls. Because of this, schools many times are underfunded and poorly managed. The direct costs charged by public schools including fees, clothing, and books are not easily affordable to many poor families making education a lower priority.

There are currently more than 35 armed conflicts in Africa. There are several armed groups fighting against government forces or fighting with each other throughout the continent. This crisis breeds significant instability in conflict regions disrupting the education system, making it unsafe or even impossible for children to attend school


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