Noem* was raped and became pregnant while trapped in domestic servitude, but she is now reunited with her family and feels ready for motherhood.
With support from the Addressing Child Trafficking and Slavery (ACTS) project in Uganda, made possible by support from the Global Fund To End Modern Slavery (GFEMS) and the U.S. Department of State Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, Noem is coping with the trauma of her experience.
When Noem’s uncle said he would teach her at his home in the city while schools were closed due to the Covid-19 lockdown, it seemed like an offer Noem and her parents couldn’t refuse. But after she arrived, her uncle forced her into domestic labor in a family home.
While there, Noem was raped by one of the family’s children, who was later arrested. Law enforcement referred Noem to the organization Hope for Justice, which is leading ACTS. The ACTS project aims to provide and transform care and support for child survivors of trafficking, raise awareness of child trafficking, and contribute to reducing its prevalence in Uganda.
Hope for Justice supported Noem at one of the charity’s Lighthouse shelters, which provides temporary care and support for vulnerable and exploited children. Noem received comprehensive care from the Hope for Justice team, including prenatal support and counseling.
The trauma-informed care and support that children and their families receive through this project, as well as information on rights and risks, are vital for promoting individual recovery and reducing the likelihood of re-trafficking.
With the continuous support of the Hope for Justice team, Noem gradually began to rediscover her confidence. She began to take part in activities and sport at the Lighthouse, and made friends with the other children.
Meanwhile, Hope for Justice contacted Noem’s parents. They were shocked to hear of what had happened, but relieved to learn their daughter was safe.
Once she felt ready, the Hope for Justice reunited Noem with her parents. Noem wishes to become a hairdresser, and she is set to begin vocational training when her baby is a year old.
Noem said: “When I found out I was pregnant, I was disappointed and worried about how I would carry the pregnancy, but after talking with the staff… I’m now ready to have my baby. I regained my happiness.
“Hope for Justice said that…at the right time, I’ll be able to continue my studies. My biggest joy now is that Hope for Justice has kept in touch…and they make sure I get the medical care I need.”
Hope for Justice will continue to support Noem and her family in the future.
*Name and image have been changed to protect survivor’s identity
This blog post was made possible through support provided by the Global Fund to End Modern Slavery under a grant from the U.S. Department of State. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of GFEMS or the U.S. Department of State.