Mercy Esther was just eight years old when she was taken from her village in rural Tanzania and forced into domestic servitude in a faraway city.

At sixteen, she made a daring escape to try to find her family and reclaim her life.

This form of forced child labour is a common reality in Tanzania – young girls are required to work long hours doing domestic work in the homes of strangers.

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They are separated from their families on promises of good money and education, but they are not paid, and not sent to school. They are living in modern-day slavery.

Working with Dominika Kulcyzk, philanthropist and founder of the Kulczyk Foundation, the CNN Freedom Project shines a light on one brave Tanzanian woman, a survivor of domestic servitude herself, Angela Benedicto, who has devoted her life to saving girls like Mercy Esther and changing the mentality of people who have allowed this abuse to become a part of culture.

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Fighting for Mercy: A CNN Freedom Project Documentary 

Airing on Saturday 18th March as part of the network’s #MyFreedomDay initiative, the half-hour documentary travels to Tanzania, where Kulcyzk and Benedicto meet the children rescued by the non-profit Wotesawa Domestic Workers Organisation. Benedicto founded the organisation to advocate for the rights of child domestic workers and fight against child human trafficking.

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Since opening the shelter in 2014, Wotesawa has accommodated an average of 75 children each year.

Benedicto says that she dreams of one day building a bigger facility where she can shelter many more.

The documentary follows Mercy Esther’s journey back to her family after eight years of exploitation.


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