Prostitution in Ethiopia has increased massively in the last years. In the capital Addis Ababa, around 130,000 girls support themselves by selling their bodies. Most of the girls are under eighteen. The youngest girls hardly earn enough money to buy their own food, whilst the experienced prostitutes make about two US dollars a night. Condoms, although free in many places, are rarely used. The men prefer to choose the youngest girls since they believe they are HIV free. This keeps lowering the age of those becoming HIV infected.
I went to Ethiopia to work as a volunteer for disabled children. Whilst there, I met this girls and started spending many days and nights following them. Since many girls don’t have a home they take naps in between pleasing their customers and their days are spent at a hairdressing salon, drinking coffee and sharing their food.
Mareya smoking. Her story is very sad. She moved to the capital when she was 14 because without her income the family couldn’t survive. She has been working as a prostitute since then and every month she manages to save money to send them. The family think she is married to a rich man and keep demanding more and more money from her every month.
Deborha getting ready for work
Coming out from the hotel where she met the first client today
Elsabet is only 14 and this is her first time. This German client is paying her $40 for a whole month having unprotected sex. To convince the girl he has been promising her to marry and take her out of the country.
Marella really misses her little brothers to which she didn’t see since she came to live in Addis.