O is one of the rescued girls who participated in our pilot sales program at a safe house in Mozambique. Here is her story in her own words:
“I want to cry already. My story is so difficult…
Growing up, my family did not have much. My mother worked, but she lost her job. She barely got enough for us to eat. There was never enough for all of us.
I would go to look for water, cabbage and other things to cook. Then one day a man came to offer us help. He offered a better place for me and my sister to stay. He told my mom that he had food.
I didn’t know that he had other plans. We went with him excited to have a better place to live and food to eat. I had no idea he was going to force me into prostitution.
I was 12 years old.
Over the years I worked in 3 different brothels. I even was found by a center who said they help people who lived on the street. But the center was full of girls who worked on the street. Eventually I went to jail.
When I was released I had a difficult choice. I only knew life on the street. But I also knew of Katie. I had met her many times and had visited her day center before. So when I got out of jail, I went to Katie’s center.
With Katie’s help, I got a job and was planning on working. I had a great job working at Medicine for the World downtown, helping kids who live on the street. But then I got sick and lost my job.
It is hard to keep a job when you are sick.
I have lots of plans for the future. I want to change. I want to have health. I want to have a business of my own.”
UPDATE: O has a successful business of her own now selling bras