The Lost Boys
Portraits of children saved from the social plague of child abandonment known as Vidomegon. This practice is widespread in Togo and mainly affects children born in rural areas with an age ranging from 2 to 15 years.
Vidomegon is a degeneration of a traditional cultural practice rooted for centuries throughout Western Africa which consisted in entrusting the child to a wealthy family in exchange for education and training. Today, the practice has fallen into the realm of child traffickers. The poorest families are forced to abandon or sold their children for survive to lack of food and resources. The practice is carried out in the belief that it will guarantee a better future for their children, but once abandoned, most of them become victims of forced labor, lack of health care and education, sex exploitation.
According to UNICEF data, around 200 000 children are trafficked annually in Western Africa and local NGOs are truly struggling to provide adequate housing, care and education for the large number of children saved from the horrors of this form of contemporary slavery, helping them to forget through play and education, as in a kind of temporary Neverland.