March 4th, 2024 
Media Contact (Ethiopia): Dr. Getachew Teshome Eregat, Ethiopia Country Director, Population Council, +251 116 631 712,  
Media Contact (U.S.): Joe Shaffner, Director of Communications, Population Council, 

Addis Ababa, EthiopiaToday, the Population Council and its partners Ethiopian Center for Disability and Development (ECDD) and the Ethiopian Lawyers with Disability Association (ELDA) held a launch event to announce the commencement of the “Forced Begging Among People with Disability in Ethiopia” project.

“Trafficking of persons with disabilities for begging is a problem which is ‘hiding in plain sight,’ readily visible in many urban settings, but largely ignored in research and programs,” said Dr. Getachew Teshome Eregata, Population Council Ethiopia Country Director.

The “Forced Begging Among People with Disability in Ethiopia” initiative will expand the global knowledge base on scalable approaches to addressing forced begging among persons with disabilities. The Council will lead intervention development research to understand patterns of trafficking of persons with disabilities for begging, leading to the design of context-appropriate interventions. The program will pilot tailored interventions spanning prevention, protection, and prosecution implemented by local partners, ECDD and ELDA. The program is also guided by two separate standing committees of Survivors and experts drawn from across sectors.  This project will take place between 2023 and 2027 in three of Ethiopia’s largest cities: Addis Ababa, Dire Dawa, and Mekelle.

To announce the implementation of this project, the Population Council, ECDD, and ELDA hosted the launch event at the Sheraton Addis Hotel in Addis Ababa. The event included firsthand descriptions from persons with disabilities who experienced trafficking into begging, as well as an expert panel of leaders, programmers, and policymakers specializing in human trafficking and disability inclusion. Panelists then discussed priority areas for evidence generation and program development at the intersections of disability, begging, and human trafficking.

This project is funded by the United States Department of State’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (TIP). In September 2023, the TIP Office announced the Population Council as a recipient of the Program to End Modern Slavery (PEMS) grant to address human trafficking among persons with disabilities in Ethiopia.

“U.S. Embassy Addis Ababa is happy to support Population Council’s research to shine a light on forced begging among persons with disabilities,” said Ambassador Ervin J. Massinga, U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia. “This research will not only promote equitable assistance for victims of these horrific crimes but also support our Ethiopian partners in advancing public safety and justice for their own communities.”

This is the first intervention development research project to address trafficking of persons with disabilities into begging. With an initial focus in Ethiopia, the project’s goal is to bring this unrecognized form of human trafficking to light and develop contextualized, evidence-based solutions that can be adapted across the globe.


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