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Emerging evidence on ‘invisible’ adolescent girls: tackling exploitation and promoting resilience

Time (GMT +00) 10:00 11:30

Opening remarks

The Rt Hon Penny Mordaunt MP @PennyMordaunt - Secretary of State for International Development, the United Kingdom


Rebecca Terzeon @BeckyTerzeon - Head of the Gender Equality Team, Department for International Development (DFID), UK


H.E. Demitu Hambisa - Minister for Women and Children's Affairs, Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia

Cornelius Williams @cornwilliams14 - Associate Director and Global Chief of Child Protection, UNICEF

Professor Furio Camillo Rosati - Director, Understanding Children’s Work Programme, International Labour Organization (ILO)

Dr Nicola Jones @njonesODI - Director and Principal Research Fellow, Gender and Adolescence: Global Evidence (GAGE) and Overseas Development Institute (ODI)


Globally 152 million children are victim to child labour, and one in four of the 40.3 million people living in modern slavery are children. Among them adolescent girls' experiences of exploitation are too often invisible, resulting in under-reporting and a dearth of girls’ perspectives in international discourse. 

The UN's Sustainable Development Goals, particularly Target 8.7 ‘to take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour,’ will not be achieved unless efforts to fight modern slavery and child labour are dramatically increased and take a gender-responsive approach.

This high-level event contributes to these efforts by:

  • Presenting emerging new research on the patterning of modern slavery and child labour;
  • Enhancing understanding on the gendered dimensions of modern slavery and child labour, and how adolescent exploitation and child labour is leaving both rural and urban girls behind;
  • Exploring priorities and good practice with regard to preventing adolescent exploitation and promoting resilience in diverse LMICs;
  • Contributing to thinking about a coherent response to child labour and tackling modern slavery in context-sensitive and tailored ways.

Event convened by: UK government and Gender and Adolescence: Global Evidence (GAGE).


The Rt Hon Penny Mordaunt MP was appointed Secretary of State for International Development in November 2017. She was Minister of State for Department for Work and Pensions from July 2016 to November 2017. She was elected Conservative MP for Portsmouth North in 2010. Earlier in her political career, Penny worked for Conservative Central Office, becoming Head of Broadcasting under William Hague. In 2000 she served as Head of Foreign Press for George W. Bush’s presidential election campaign. In Parliament, Penny served on the European Scrutiny Committee, Defence Select Committee, and as chairman of the APPGs for Life Science and for Ageing and Older People. In autumn 2013 she was appointed Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Secretary of State for Defence, Rt Hon. Philip Hammond MP. She served as Minister of State for the Armed Forces from May 2015 until July 2016. 

Rebecca Terzeon is Head of Gender Equality at the UK Department for International Development. Her career in international development includes postings in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (2004-05), Ethiopia (2006-07) and Somalia (2012-15), where she was Deputy Head of the UKaid programme.

H.E. Demitu Hambisa is the Minister of Women & Children, Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. Demitu has served as a teacher and in different posts in woreda, zonal and regional governments in Oromia regional state. She has also served as speaker of Oromia State Council. Demitu was Minister of Science and Technology between 2006 and 2007, and prior to that Minister of Public Enterprises. H.E. Hambisa holds an LLB from the Civil Service University, Ethiopia and an MA in Leadership from the University of Greenwich, England.

Cornelius Williams is Associate Director and global Chief of Child Protection for UNICEF's Programme Division. He has over 25 years of experience in managing child protection programmes in Western, Eastern and Southern Africa with UNICEF and Save the Children. As a child rights advocate he has been involved in advocacy that led to improved protection of children from sexual exploitation and abuse in humanitarian settings, reduced recruitment and use of children by armed forces and groups and increased access of children to identity documents/birth certificate and social assistance and other services.

Furio Camillo Rosati is a Professor of Public Finance at the University of Tor Vergata, Rome in the Faculty of Economics. In addition to his position at the University of Tor Vergata, Professor Rosati is currently the Director for "Understanding Children's Work" (UCW) an inter-agency research initiative on child labour involving the International Labour Organization, UNICEF and the World Bank. UCW was established in 2000 and is aimed at improving information and research capacity in the area of child labour and youth employment. 

Dr Nicola Jones is a Principal Research Fellow at ODI specialising in research and advisory work on gender, childhood and youth, social policy and social protection. She has carried out work for a range of funders and her country expertise is broad, having worked in East and West Africa, Asia, Latin America and more recently in the MENA region. Nicola is currently Co-Director of the Gender and Adolescence: Global Evidence (GAGE) programme, a nine-year DFID-funded longitudinal research programme building knowledge on good-practice programmes and policies that support adolescent girls in the Global South to reach their full potential. She has published widely including six books, more than 20 peer-reviewed journal articles, as well as reports, policy briefs and short communication pieces.

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