Emma was only 12 years old when she was first sold into prostitution by her relatives in Nairobi’s red light district. Today she has a son as a result of a rape, but her love for the boy gives her the strength to cope with every day life. We had the privilege of meeting Emma in Nairobi together with our partners in January 2019. She told us about her dream: To leave prostitution and have a job that made it possible for her to support herself and her son. Recently we received the following report from Maisha Talita:
"Hanna is progressing very well. Her teacher commends her for the commitment she has shown in her studies. She is due to complete her course around May 2020. It is our pleasure to let you know that she is now in a two months part time contract with a leading organization whose main aim is to reduce HIV infections in the country. She will earn 30,000 Kshs. (290 USD) by working in HIV Voluntary Testing Services, which will allow her to put theory into practice for the period that she will work. The money she will earn will be very helpful as she will now afford the basic needs of her young family. "
In preparation for starting Maisha Talita, we visited a center in Nairobi's largest slum area, where women exploited in the sex industry can come for health check-ups, information about HIV/AIDS, free condoms etc. After having finished a meeting with the director of the center, we saw a young mother called Hanna, who was sitting in the waiting room outside the office. We sat town and began talking to Hanna, and it turned out that she lived alone with her daughter and had no choice but to sell her body. The tears rolled down her cheeks as she told us about her everyday life of abuse, humiliation and anxiety. She wanted nothing more than to leave prostitution, but saw no way out.
A few weeks later, Talita was able to transfer the amount of money needed to pay for a vocational education for Hanna and today she has a job and keeps regular contact with Maisha Talita, who continues to support her through counseling and practical help.
Katarina came from Latvia and was sold into prostitution by her family at a very young age. After being trafficked in and out of different countries for years, Katarina ended up in Romania without a place to stay or anyone to support her. By that time, she had a child whom had been taken away from her and placed in an Italian orphanage. Katarina came in contact with Casa Talita who offered to help her.
At the beginning, she apprehensive about entering the rehabilitation program because of her trauma, but after a few days she opened up and told the staff her life story. Casa Talita started the process of obtaining her id-documents and today she is enjoying her new life in the shelter. Her love and talent for knitting means that she is able to sell some products and earn some money. Casa Talita will support her until she has experienced inner healing and can provide for herself.
A young woman, Enkhee, was promised a housekeeping job in Malaysia. Once she arrived, she was locked in a room with a massive iron door, and she soon realized that she had been trafficked for sexual purposes. Enkhee was forced into prostitution in sauna- and massage parlours and she was punished and beaten when she tried to escape. Eventually, she was even injected with drugs. At one point in time, when Enkhee found out that she would be sold to a new pimp, she cut her face with a razor to make herself unattractive to the new pimps and whispered to herself “I must go home alive”.
She finally managed to escape and flee back to Mongolia and her case was resolved in court. Yet documents from the closed trial were disclosed and her case was printed in a newspaper with her full name. Enkhee was terrified and did not dare to leave her home during the day. In order to be able to support her children, she then had to sell her body at night. One night, the police decided to ”clean up” the city and they put 30 prostituted women in a “temporary detention centre”. And that is where Enkhee came in contact with Talita Mongolia for the first time, as Talita visited the detention centre to tell the women about the organization and the help they could offer. Enkhee decided to enter our rehabilitation program, which has completely changed her life. She reached her biggest goal the day she was accepted at the university, and now is able to live and work, without feeling ashamed and rejected.
She speaks softly. “If girls refuse to have sex, they abuse them and if they can’t change a girl, they sell her,” she said. “They call the trafficker and sell.” Boloroo has been bought and sold many times. In 2016, fleeing an abusive home, Boloroo ended up at a sauna near the central railway station. There, in rooms with barred windows, she was exploited together with four other women. Their madam supplied food and clothes, but never the money earned. The brothel sold her to another sauna when they found she was trying to escape, but not before she alleges being beaten as punishment and then raped by her attackers.
Eventually, Boloroo was trafficked into China where she was exploited in multiple cities before a client helped her escape to the Mongolian embassy in Beijing. She arrived at Talita in late 2017. Boloroo used to shake as she talked about her experiences and she had nightmares. Now she wraps her arms around a stuffed bear and explains with a smile that she is looking into culinary college. But Boloroo is also anxious about living in the capital, afraid that someone from her old life will recognize her.