George’s* mother and father separated while he was young, and he went to live with his grandmother on an island in Lake Victoria, one of the African Great Lakes. But, she had little means to support eight grandchildren. The family was living in extreme poverty and so when a stranger offered to support George’s education and train him to dance, his grandmother thought she was giving him the chance of a better life.
George was taken to Kampala, where he was kept with eleven other children, aged 4 to 16, in one small room, living in horrendous conditions. None of them got the education they were promised – instead, they were exploited and made to work long hours, dancing in bars and performing open-air shows, often going without food.
All of the children were rescued after a member of the community, who had received training from Hope for Justice on how to spot the signs of modern slavery, alerted the police to the children’s situation. Their trafficker was arrested and charged, while the children received medical care, counselling, and catch-up education at one of Hope for Justice’s Lighthouses.
The abuse and exploitation had taken a toll on George who, within a few days, was admitted to hospital, where he was diagnosed with anaemia. Hope for Justice arranged for George’s grandmother to travel to the hospital to see him and, after six days, he was well enough to be discharged.
“Thank you so much to the Hope for Justice team for the support you have rendered me and my child in such hard times,” said George’s grandmother.
Hope for Justice continued to support George after he left the Lighthouse with regular check-ups from a nurse, access to education, and supporting his grandmother to care for all eight children.
“Thank you so much for bringing me back home,” George told a member of Hope for Justice’s team. “I am happy to be with my grandmother again.”
*Name changed to protect survivor’s identity