I survived the Lords Resistance Army, other girls were not lucky.

Agnes Igoye
Posted October 3, 2018 from Uganda

I was 14. The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) raided my village demanding virgins. In a horrific escape, I endured a treacherous journey that ended in an internally displaced people’s camp. Other girls were not lucky, so was my grandfather.  He was 100. Unable to run, he climbed a mango tree and fell to the feet of the rebels. They mocked him and left him for dead. Discovered later in excruciating pain, he was confined to a wheel chair and later died of his injuries.

What become our internally displaced people’s camp was an open large field at a catholic mission. There were no tents. A site of activity and emotions. Parents looking for missing children, others attending to crying and hungry children.  Those with some food, collected firewood and cooked in open fires. Several slept on bare ground amidst the smoke.

Amidst scarcity however, I witnessed kindness. People shared the little food they had and comforted those who had lost loved ones or whose children were missing. The catholic nuns were gracious and kind. They offered us some supplies. Food, water and medicine.

What kept me going in displacement? I was alive. Other girls were taken as sex slaves. Many remained uncounted for. I was grateful to be alive. And even in displacement, opportunities presented themselves. Whenever something dropped in the forest close by, children raced. Birds accidentally dropped fish as they fed their chicks. That was how we got our proteins- all I had to do was run, get to the fish before the rest. I was an athlete and a valuable asset to my family.

Fleeing the LRA and experiencing life in displacement informed my career choices. I joined Uganda’s immigration service in 1996, and while working at the Busia Uganda-Kenya border, I caused the arrest of one of the LRA’s notorious commanders as he was attempting to flee the country. He was known for killing, cooking and feeding villagers on human flesh. I subsequently rescued girls the LRA had trafficked as sex slaves, including some of LRA rebel leader Joseph Kony’s “wives”.

These successes led me to meet Uganda’s Minister of Internal Affairs. There, I advocated for sustainable training programs for immigration officers in order to counter transnational organized crimes, including human trafficking.

I am the founder of the Dream Revival Center, which is a residential facility for survivors of trafficking. I was motivated to build the center after years of housing survivors in my own home.

In 2011 I made a personal commitment of action at the Clinton Global Initiative to counter human trafficking, assist former child soldiers, and train 1000 law enforcement officers. Since then I have trained over 2000 law enforcement officers to counter trafficking. I founded the Huts For Peace program, which is a self-help initiative by displaced female survivors of trafficking and gender-based violence by the LRA. Using locally available materials the women have so far constructed huts to house over 25 extended families and 120 children in their care.

Fleeing the LRA, Losing a home and displaced at 14, I saw firsthand what it meant to feel unsafe. As a 2018 Aspen New Voices Fellow, I write and speak globally about human trafficking. I advocate for survivors and rally global action.

Utilizing our talents, we all can do something to prevent human trafficking, protect victims and prosecute offenders. Traffickers are afraid when we unite in action.   

 

 

https://stories.clintonfoundation.org/the-honor-roll-after-surviving-a-b...

https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=agnes+igoye&&view=detail&mid=D275E9...

https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=agnes+igoye&&view=detail&mid=6CCD8A...

This story was submitted in response to The Future of Security is Women .

Comments 13

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Olutosin
Oct 03, 2018
Oct 03, 2018

My shero, thank you for your amazing work!!!

Agnes Igoye
Oct 03, 2018
Oct 03, 2018

Love you my sister, I follow your amazing posts-thanks for inspiration to women!

Jill Langhus
Oct 04, 2018
Oct 04, 2018

OMG, Agnes. Your story and work rock!!! Thanks for sharing.

Do you have websites and/or social media links for your center and program? I would love to follow both of them.

Keep up the great work. I'm looking forward to seeing more stories from you and seeing how we can work together to end trafficking.

Hope you have a great day!

Agnes Igoye
Oct 04, 2018
Oct 04, 2018

Thank you for your kind message. I don't have a website yet but will share when I do. Yes, happy to explore ways to collaborate.
With deep appreciation,

Agnes

Jill Langhus
Oct 05, 2018
Oct 05, 2018

You're welcome:-)

Oh, yes. Please share, when you can. I will continue the conversation on private message.

Good luck on your story submission and have a great day!

emma matondang
Oct 04, 2018
Oct 04, 2018

Oh my dear Agness, Oh My God.Reading your story here. I feel so bad. Thinking how bad men are. That bad. I thought it's only in the movie. What and how did their parents educate them? what did they eat? What create such bad human? I have many questions in mind for what I heard thyat people was born to be the best creature in the world. Having brain and heart. What wsa their heart made of?
What to do? How are you now? I wish your condition is better. Keep up your brave and spirit. Take care, be carefull. Oh i am sorry I don't know what to say. Please how can we help you? Be stronger and stronger sister.

Agnes Igoye
Oct 04, 2018
Oct 04, 2018

Thank you so much Emma. Am so comforted by your kindness and love. I am doing well as I channel my energy working with survivors.
You have already helped me by your message- lets keep in touch.

Hugs from Uganda.

Agnes

Dawn Arteaga
Oct 04, 2018
Oct 04, 2018

Wow what a powerful story. Thank you for sharing it. I love how you share about the kindness you witnessed and the resilience of the people in the camp. I am sorry for the pain you suffered. And I am inspired by your strength. Thank you.

Agnes Igoye
Oct 04, 2018
Oct 04, 2018

Thank you Dawn for reading my story. It is so uplifting to receive a comforting message from a WP sister.

Appreciatively,

Agnes

Tarke Edith
Oct 04, 2018
Oct 04, 2018

Dear Agnes
Thanks for sharing your displaced story,, you know sister when people are displaced they are children of one woman thank God for he sees you through

Agnes Igoye
Oct 05, 2018
Oct 05, 2018

Dear Tarke Edith,

Greetings from Uganda.
Thank you for your kind response and words of encouragement.

Warmly,
Agnes

Tamarack Verrall
Oct 04, 2018
Oct 04, 2018

Dear Agnes,

Your courage and deep soul determination to create change radiates through your story. How amazing to read about your journey creating safety for so many in the years that the LRA was wreaking violent havoc. Two things amaze me. First and foremost your strength and visionary path of direct action, leading to the enormous structure of safety you have created for so many today. Also, having heard through tiny news reports at the time of what the LRA was doing, to be able to be in contact with and getting news directly from each other now through our beloved WorldPulse, and to be able to meet you here, is simply amazing.

With love in sisterhood,
Tam

Agnes Igoye
Oct 05, 2018
Oct 05, 2018

Dear Tam,
Thank you for reading my story and for your uplifting response. Grateful to belong to our World Pulse family of sisterhood!

Love from Uganda

Agnes

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