Contemporary Abolitionist of the Month: Gilbert Munda
By Solveig Haugen
The fight to end slavery is rooted in history and extends until today. Each month we will profile some of the brave men and women, both contemporary and historical, who have fought to eradicate slavery. Our contemporary abolitionist of the month is Gilbert Munda.
Gilbert Munda is the coordinator of the Action Center for Youth and Vulnerable Children (CAJED) in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). CAJED provides temporary care and support to children who have suffered severe violence, particularly child soldiers and child brides, who are considered human trafficking victims.
The DRC has a Tier 3 ranking, the lowest on the U.S. Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report, in large part due to the prevalence of child soldiers and child brides. The United Nations estimates that 15-30% of newly recruited DRC soldiers are under the age of 18. The DRC has an estimated 30,000 child soldiers, one-tenth of the world’s total.
Munda decided to dedicate his life to the care of this vulnerable population. He shaped CAJED into a valuable resource for former child soldiers and child brides, setting up services such as educational programs, psychological care, and recreational activities. After rehabilitation, CAJED works to reunite children with their families.
CAJED works with a coalition of partners, including the United Nations International Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and first responders, to effectively serve these children. UNICEF helps fund and provide resources, first responders connect victims to CAJED, and Munda, through CAJED, provides services directly to the children. Through this coalition, CAJED has assisted more than 9,000 children.
Partnerships like CAJED’s are critical to combatting human trafficking. In order to effectively fight human trafficking, businesses, NGOs, law enforcement, and government officials need to increase accountability for traffickers while also caring for victims.
Munda works tirelessly to end the suffering of trafficked children, and he understands the critical need for partnerships. The United States should follow his example and work in coordination with local, state, and federal agencies, NGOs, and the private sector to combat trafficking.