A 16-year-old orphan who was sexually abused while working in a bar is now free, and has built the confidence to speak publicly about child trafficking.
After losing both her parents, Teddy* moved in with her aunt in Uganda. Grieving and lonely, she became depressed, and stopped taking her medication for HIV, a condition she was born with. With schools closed due to Covid-19, she decided to visit her cousin in another district.
Teddy’s cousin told her about a friend who visited the city, and shared stories of fun and wealth. Teddy decided she wanted to get a job there, so a contact of her cousin’s made the arrangements.
But Teddy was then forced to work in a bar unpaid for two months, and subjected to sexual abuse. When she courageously reported this, her employer chased her away, but eventually took her to the police station. We then took Teddy in at one of our Lighthouses.
Teddy was initially depressed, shy and withdrawn. For four months, we cared for and supported her, and gradually she began to recover. She began taking her medication again, and enjoyed lessons and life skills training.
We were delighted to see Teddy become sociable and confident. She offered counselling to her friends, and joined the children’s council committee. At her graduation from the life skills course, Teddy spoke in front of all the other children at the Lighthouse about the risks of child trafficking.
Our team also contacted Teddy’s aunt, who was delighted when we later reunited her with her niece. Teddy is now receiving ongoing medical support, and is excited to be back at school. She dreams of becoming a professional artist and hairdresser.
The perpetrators have been arrested.
Teddy spoke before all her friends at the Lighthouse about the risks of child trafficking
Teddy is now happily reunited with her aunt
*Name has been changed to protect the identity of the survivor