Anna*, the oldest of seven siblings, grew up in an unstable and very poor family. Her elderly father was unable to work, while her mother sold charcoal to try to support the family. But this was not enough to fund Anna’s education, so when a friend encouraged her to travel to Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, to find work, she was susceptible to this form of ‘peer trafficking’.
Anna was among a group of girls from Karamoja, a sub-region located in north-eastern Uganda, who were then targeted by an organised criminal group and became the victims of forced labour and sexual exploitation.
Ten girls, including Anna, were rescued by Kenyan and Ugandan law enforcement and referred to Hope for Justice’s Mary Lighthouse.
A member of the team said: “When we received Anna, she was very unsettled and really struggled to see hope. She had been through such awful circumstances. But over the weeks, we have seen her make huge improvements.”
At the Lighthouse, Anna has developed basic literacy skills, including how to write her name, and learned about personal hygiene and life skills. She has developed a passion for cooking and hairdressing after the extra-curricular activities on these skills. She has learned to make pancakes, samosas, meat pies, and other meals.
Anna said: “I have achieved a lot during my stay at the Lighthouse. I have learnt a lot. The practical skills have greatly shifted my thinking; before I thought that the only way I could survive was by working for people as a househelp or nanny, but now I believe that with a little financial support I will be able to start up my own business and earn money. I am thankful to Hope for Justice for the care they have rendered to me. They received me with open arms and showered me with love. I feel so proud of what I have achieved. I will not be a victim of human trafficking again. Thank you, Hope for Justice.”
*Name and imagechanged to protect survivor’s identity