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2015 (Narrative date)

Forced child labour remains a source of concern in Nigeria, according the International Labor Organization, the number of children working under the age of 14 in Nigeria is estimated at 15 million. These jobs include street vending, begging, car washing and shoe shining, while a large number of children work as domestic servants and farm hands. According to UNICEF, causes of child labour include widespread poverty, rapid urbanisation, breakdown in extended family affiliations, high school drop out rates and lack of enforcement of legal instruments meant to protect children.

Rachida was trafficked into domestic work at 10 years old in Nigeria by her mother. One day when she saw her brother, she decided to run away. Now, with the help of Plan International, Rachida is training to be a seamstress.

My mother brought me to Nigeria, then fled. She took the money and left. I’m angry at her. I didn’t think she’d do this to me. I was 10 years old and I did all the domestic work.

I asked her: ‘Mum, you said we were just coming here on holiday, why are you making me work?’ She just replied ‘who brought you into this world?’ I wanted to flee but where could I go?

I started pretending to be sick. I didn’t want to stay there anymore. My grandmother had been sending letters, begging Madame to let me go. Having read the letters, I decided to flee when I saw my brother.


Narrative provided courtesy of Plan International