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End the exploitation of girls

End the exploitation of girls

Around the world, girls are being abused and exploited for other’s gain. We won’t give up until the violence stops.

Every day, girls are being exploited in ways that are devastating for their health and wellbeing. Sold, lured, tricked and coerced, they’re being forced into prostitution, child labour, domestic servitude and marriage, often with much older men.

We can’t let this violence against girls and women continue. That’s why this year, we were at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) with youth advocates Viola, Norah, Hope and Georgina, as they demanded a commitment from their Governments to take action to end this abuse of girls’ rights. 

It’s why we stood with Sarita and Sabina in Nepal, as they campaigned to get their Mayor to end the trafficking of girls. And it’s why we’re committed to making cities around the world safer for girls, to end the abuse, harassment and exploitation that growing numbers of them are facing in urban environments.

99% of people sexually exploited for commercial gain are female – one in five are girls

Nearly 70% of domestic workers are girls and over one fifth work in hazardous conditions

40 to 45 millionpeople are affected by forced labour and forced marriage globally

AN ABUSE OF GIRLS’ HUMAN RIGHTS

Girls who are exploited are being denied their childhood, their education and their chance to secure a sustainable livelihood for themselves. Their freedom and autonomy are being curtailed, leaving them socially isolated and vulnerable to ongoing violence, exploitation and abuse throughout their lives.

This violence is being done to girls in their homes and in their communities. It’s also increasingly happening to those fleeing their homelands due to conflict and humanitarian crises: girls on the move are extremely vulnerable to being sold or trafficked into forced labour or sexual exploitation.

We know that when girls are free to choose their own path, influence the world around them, and speak out when they see injustice, everything changes. That’s why we’re committed to standing with brave girls around the world, as they campaign to end exploitation and ensure every girl lives a life free from violence.

A girls looks out over a balcony
Laxmi* was rescued and returned to Nepal after she was trafficked to India when she was 15 (*name has been changed to protect identity).

Speaking out at UNGA

Modern slavery is on the agenda for governments meeting at the 2018 UN General Assembly (UNGA) – and we'll be there, to make sure the experiences of adolescent girls and young women are heard.

We'll be presenting some of the early findings from a wider research study from Uganda, Nepal and Nigeria, which aims to better understand the factors that make girls and young women so vulnerable to exploitation, and to pinpoint the approaches that might help them.

Norah is a youth advocate from Uganda
Norah, 23, has been part of our Safer Cities programme in Kampala for the last four years. “When the girls around me are exploited, I am not safe either. Let’s re-write the story,” she says.

TAKING ACTION AT CHOGM

Today, more than half of all enslaved individuals in the world are estimated to live in Commonwealth countries, making it a problem our leaders can’t ignore.

In 2018, we joined youth advocates Viola and Norah from Uganda, and Hope and Georgina from Kenya, at the Commonwealth Summit. They asked their Governments to push for commitments to be made by all the Heads of State, to end the exploitation of girls and protect their rights – and they succeeded.

Youth advocates Sarita and Sabina are standing with young people in Nepal to demand an end to trafficking
Sabina, left, 17, and Sarita, right, 15, are campaigning to end trafficking in Nepal.

Standing with brave girls to stop trafficking

“If girls know their rights, they can educate the new generation.” – Sabina

Every day, girls are being trafficked within Nepal, across the border into India and overseas. Once they’re taken away from their homes, they're being sexually exploited in brothels, and forced into child marriage, domestic servitude and to work in clothes factories.

It's a horrendous abuse of girls' rights, and it has to stop. That's why we asked you to support youth advocates Sarita and Sabina, as they campaigned to get their Mayor to take action.

Maribel is as afraid on public transport as she is on the streets of Quito
Maribel, 19, is a youth advocate for Plan International Ecuador.

MAKING CITIES SAFER FOR GIRLS

“Because I’m a girl, others think I’m weaker. Because I am a girl, I’m seen as a sexual target.” – Maribel, 19, Ecuador

For the first time in history, there are more people living in cities than in rural areas. These urban environments offer all kinds of opportunities – but our research shows that the world’s cities aren’t safe for girls.

They’re facing abuse, physical and sexual harassment and exploitation, making this a global problem that must be addressed.

Girls carry washing to the river in South Sudan.
Girls carry washing to the river in South Sudan, where conflict has displaced four million people and left seven million in need of humanitarian aid.

LISTENING TO GIRLS IN CRISIS

Around the world, 500 million adolescent girls are living in countries affected by conflict and humanitarian crises.

In these environments, navigating the challenges of growing up as a girl – from increased domestic work to the risk of gender-based violence, child marriage and pregnancy and childbirth – becomes immensely more challenging.

That's why we're working to support young girls and women growing up during times of crisis.

Stand with every brave girl

Be part of the Because I am a Girl campaign