By Presidential Proclamation, January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, meant to shed light on the signs and consequences of this global tragedy. We at ChildVoice are all too familiar with the atrocities and abuses committed against young, vulnerable children who have been kidnapped or coerced into sexual slavery and forced labor. Here is the story of one such young South Sudanese girl, now at the Lukome Center, who was rescued from a childhood of prostitution.
Eighteen-year-old Nadia came to ChildVoice from a brothel in the city of Yei. Her mother died when she was young, and shortly after that her father simply disappeared; to this day, she has no idea of his whereabouts. For years she was bounced around from family member to family member; life was hard because no one could afford to support her. Desperate to make money so she could simply exist, Nadia turned to prostitution. She met some other young girls who worked as prostitutes, and they introduced her to the Safari Lodge, an infamous brothel known for its child prostitutes.
Nadia’s life went even more downhill from there. With no one to protect her, she was abused almost every night and often not given full payment. Then, in 2015, she became pregnant. Against the advice of her fellow prostitutes, Nadia decided to keep her baby, even though this meant she would be hard pressed to find work.
Thankfully, through the help of a social worker, Nadia found ChildVoice in February of 2016. At the time, she was already in labor and desperately needed a C-section. ChildVoice staff were able to move her to a hospital with the capability of delivering her baby.
Interestingly, ChildVoice Founder Conrad Mandsager was visiting Yei at the time and was able to hold Nadia’s newborn baby, named Conrad in honor of Mandsager and the new life Nadia found at the Lukome Center in northern Uganda.
Today, Nadia and her baby are doing well. They finally have found a place of sanctuary where Nadia can rebuild her life and live each day with the prospect of a brighter future for her and her child.