The ordeals of survivors of labour and sex trafficking in the Northwest region of Cameroon

Seraphine
Posted April 17, 2021 from Cameroon

Bamenda, the capital city of the North West Region where I hail from is hub, destination and transit spot for human trafficking a common practice and accepted culture for families in remote communities in the North West. It is a common practice for families in remote communities to give 1 or 2 children to be taken to the city in a hope to better their lives and that of the family as they will inturn be given some money for the children sold out most likely for domestic service and other promised opportunities. Most often when the children get there they find that the conditions and promises given them are directly different from what they expected. it is not as it was ‘sold’ to them. Most often than not, they stray away from their keepers and get further trafficked or get involved in all sorts of illicit activities while those who dare to remain “decent and morally upright” somehow find that they end up as sales girls in beer parlours, , Sex slaves street hawkers etc, further exposing themselves to all forms of  sexually exploitation and abuse. I have lived it, I have watched my sisters stranded in the cities and so ashamed to go back home empty handed as they left for greener pastures. As a matter of fact my very own biological sister is involved in it right now, she was manipulated and carried away to the city of Douala for domestic servitude and finally strayed away from her master. She is about 19 years old and has been trafficked again and again.

Because of the ordeals of trafficking, I developed a  strong passion to stop girls from my community from being trafficked as I saw some come back home very frustrated, sick while some even died as a result. Here in the city, I have received young girls physically and sexually abused, bruised, raped and tortured by strangers and they had no way to return home for shame. As a result we engaged into sensitisation campaigns about human trafficking in some source communities like nwa that is perenially known to provide children to families in the cities and beyond. While my passion for these vulnerable people grew stronger, I started to think of sowing seeds of mercy and compassion by extending help and love to these ones. I want to give them the future they were rubbed of by guiding and providing the opportunity for them to achieve the stolen dreams. In this light, we have achieved the following this past year.

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Monthly meetings were held where members obtained training, healing and recovery sessions.

Taxi fares were made available for all members who attended our monthly meetings, 

Five (05) members received medical support with their full medical bills taken care of,

 Two (02) were sponsored back to school,

One (01) succeeded in the national end of year exams (GCE) that has set her up for employment,

 One (1) was supported through adult literacy classes , 

Three (03) members had sponsors who provided/providing monthly sustainability allowance for personal up keep,

One (01) member was enrolled into computer school to train as a secretary,

 Two  (02) were enrolled into vocational skills training opportunities in hair dressing and tailoring respectively,

A white board and other office tools were purchased for the smooth running of workshops, trainings and other office use,

 One (01) was supported with a small seed grant to start a business, 

Seven (07) Water purification systems were provided to seven members of the cohort due to lack of clean drinking water in their neighborhoods,

 Dental, menstrual and other hygiene kits were provided to all members of the cohort amongst many others.

We would have done more if we had support from love ones like you.

 Sadly some of our survivors most likely end up being trafficked for lack of adequate support for reintegration.  You see, I have come to discover that at the root of all of this is poverty, abject poverty in these communities. There is another girl we work with who was taken from a very hidden community. She was sexually trafficked, she lived with traffickers who  sexually exploited and abused her. And when she realised what situation she was in and how she had been deceived she wanted to escape but her keepers seized all her property, her dresses,   infact everythingh about her was taken away. I had to get involved and intervene and get her some things. Her living conditions were horrible, so we had to ask for some funds from an individual donor who helped to place her and we are currently training her in a tailoring trade that she chose. The challenge we have is that training materials and training fees are not readily available. This is why I want to raise some funds so we can buy machines and equipment our own center and shelter so we can rescue and train in different skill sets depending on the choices of our survivors. We want to be sustainable so we can be able to serve more of those that are knocking our door daily. I have a vision to create a ‘Sustainable Support Structure’ which I call SSS, that will constantly train, educate and release those we rescue. We intend to have a shops for hairdressing, tailoring, culinary arts, library, conference halls, accommodation that can temporarily keep survivors safe after rescue. At the moment it is very difficult for us to rescue as we don’t have a shelter for them to stay safe. We needt find somewhere for them to live safely before they get reintegrated.

Most of them already have children. This centre could stop this cycle of trafficking from continuing.

When we are able to meet the needs of these girls and the children they have, they would have been educated about trafficking, they will not allow their children to leave, they will keep their children with them and make their future better. It is all about sustainability. That is why I call it a ‘Sustainable Support Structure’, if that structure is not there then it will be very difficult to reach  our goal of contributing to end human trafficking in the north west region of Cameroon and beyond. In this light we have put up a fundraising campaign on giving way that can help us establish our sustainable support structure that will serve as a shelter and a training center for different trades and activities. We wish that people of good will can support our activities buy donating through this link and sharing to their networks of donors. Meanwhile, we want to thank the world pulse for making her platform a good sounding board for grassroots organizations like ours. Please you can support and donate to us through the link below.

https://www.givingway.com/campaign/59a569

 

Comments 40

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Busayo Obisakin
Apr 17
Apr 17

Dear Seraphine
I really appreciate you for the good work you are doing! Sex slave is also happening in Nigeria and it can so traumatic for the victim. Thank you for the great work you are doing in rescuing and rehabilitating these girls
Love
Busayo.

Seraphine
Apr 18
Apr 18

Thank you Busayo for your support! Yes I have lived in Benin City and understand the ordeals of victims sex trafficked to Italy. You would hardly believe I met a woman there who had 16 ladies in her sex shop in Italy who were trafficked from Nigeria. Though she said she finally freed them all, gave back their passports after she encountered Christ and understood that her business was ungodly.

Manasa Ram Raj
Apr 17
Apr 17

Dear Seraphine,

It's really horrible that young girls and boys are sold off by their parents in return of money. Especially when economic hardships forces parents to take these extreme steps, it poses an immense threat for children to break away from this and stand on their own when they grow up! I have seen this in some parts of India, too, where parents send away their children in the name of "work" but are infact sold to traffickers. Whats even more sad is that, the children are sent back home after a few months or years after "completing" their work, only for them to be sold again by their parents for another type of "work". The cycle is so hard to break and continues as long as the children are not rehabilitated. I want to commend you for your hard work and thank you for your powerful fight!

Your passion is strongly felt, your actions are inspiring and your impact is transforming the lives of young girls in Cameroon!

Seraphine
Apr 18
Apr 18

Thank you so much Manasa, I'm glad you feel me. I understand the situation in those parts of India is like what we have here. I wish such parents took out time to know exactly what their children are sent out and exposed to in the name of "work". It's sad how some come back home miserable, sick, pregnant, traumatized and some even die as a result. I only hope parents will be sensitized to say no to sugar coated tongue strangers and relatives who are so ready to prey on their lovely children.

Olutosin
Apr 18
Apr 18

It is very sad my sister. If sadness can burst a sorrowful heart my heart would have shred in pieces with the kind of messages that I read from women everywhere....

Sometimes this sadness envelopes one especially when there is no solution at hand.

Thank you very much for your decision to help. May Almighty God send more and more support to you so that you can do more.
I pray for healing for all victims.

Seraphine
Apr 19
Apr 19

Thank you so very much Olutosin for your prayers and support. We are stronger than the pain that lurks within.

METIEGE OKON NOEL EVE

A sad reality of Cameroon thanks Seraphine for sharing and thanks for the good work you are doing

Seraphine
Apr 19
Apr 19

Thank you sister! It's hard to believe how vulnerable the girl child in Cameroon has become.

Tarke Edith
Apr 18
Apr 18

Hello sis seraphine
this issue of this type of child trafficking has been very rampant here in Bamenda .
Thank you dear for addressing this problem the you can.
More grace dear .
thanks for sharing
Tarke Edith in Bamenda

Seraphine
Apr 19
Apr 19

Thank you sister for adding your voice to the reality of our region. We are in this together. Please you can refer any case you hear of or see to us so we can find a way of rescue, empowerment and reinsertion.

Loreen Meda
Apr 18
Apr 18

My sister thank you for sharing with us this very emotional and touching story. This is also happening in Zimbabwe and South Africa at a large scale but very little or nothing is done. Often the girl child becomes the Moses of the family. While the meagre funds are sent home, the child experiences many forms of human degradation and abuse. We need to take more action at grassroot level.

Seraphine
Apr 19
Apr 19

sister you bring tears into my eyes describing the girl child as the Moses of the family. Its so hard breaking what most of them are exposed to. Human trafficking is real and very common in Africa, the supply chain goes right down to the Middle East and Europe. We must take action to stop it at the right from the source of supply. thanks for your support

Honorine Ngenwi
Apr 19
Apr 19

Hi sister Sera it really a pitty there is nothing the government is doing about it. My sister thank you for always looking for a way to help such children. God will continue to guide and protect you for ever and ever.
Hugs sis

Seraphine
Apr 19
Apr 19

Amen sister! Wish to know you more.

Honorine Ngenwi
Apr 21
Apr 21

Hi sis good afternoon, that's my email address. [email protected]

oben Tati
Apr 19
Apr 19

Thanks Seraphine for sharing

Seraphine
Apr 19
Apr 19

You are welcome dear

Jill Langhus
Apr 19
Apr 19

Hello, Dear, Fanwi,

How are you? Thanks so much for sharing about your work, and good luck with your fundraiser:-) Good things will come to those who do so much for others.

Liluye is proud to partner with you. Keep up the great work!

XX

Seraphine
Apr 19
Apr 19

Thank you mother! You partnership and support is very much valued.

Jill Langhus
Apr 21
Apr 21

You're welcome, Love:-) Thank you!!! XX

Susu Mohamed
Apr 19
Apr 19

Dear serap,
Oooh its very sad and very bad thing and prohibition to the religious and humanity keep up your work and thanks for sharing us .
Best regards
Sùu

Seraphine
Apr 19
Apr 19

Yes sister Susu it's total evil against humanity and probably not accepted in all religions. Thank you for your support..

Olatoun Williams
Apr 19
Apr 19

Dear Seraphine,
Thank you for the great work you are doing in Cameroun to rescue these abused children. It is very unfortunate that they were taken advantage of due to the decadence in the society. Poverty and hopelessness pervade the world of these children that make them susceptible to exploitation of any form. As a mother and a sister, I feel their pain and agony, it is really sad to see young children going through these trauma. I must commend you for the great work you are doing. Help will surely come for you. Kudos.

Seraphine
Apr 19
Apr 19

Amen and thank you so very much for your support.

emarxen
Apr 19
Apr 19

Thank you for sharing your experience, including your families experience.

Seraphine
Apr 19
Apr 19

You're welcome sister.

Nini Mappo
Apr 21
Apr 21

Dear Seraphine,
You are a strong woman, mothering those who have been neglected by their families because of ignorance. It takes strength of character to care for others, to not turn away in the face of such great need, and to trouble yourself until a workable solution is reached. It is easy for society to dismiss these women, but you saw their dignity, their value, their loss, their potential...and chose to begin the gradual process or restoring them. Thank you. I salute you, sister.

Seraphine
Apr 21
Apr 21

Thank you very much Nini for your kind words. Some of you are the reason I would like to continue the fight no matter how rough and tough it may be.

Mukamisha
Apr 21
Apr 21

oh bien merci pour cette réalisation mes ches femmes

Seraphine
Apr 21
Apr 21

merci beaucoup pour vos encouragement ma soeur

Mukamisha
Apr 23
Apr 23

Thank you mamy Séraphine

Seraphine
Apr 23
Apr 23

Thank you sister

jfaria
Apr 23
Apr 23

I'm shocked beyond belief, but all I can say is: thank you! Thank you for creating awareness, so we can all support in this horrific battle against sex-trafficking. Thank you for supporting these children and creating a better future for them.

Seraphine
Apr 23
Apr 23

Dear sister is for real that a lot of people do not yet understand the reality of this illicit trade. Thank you to for your support.

Kabraham
Apr 23
Apr 23

Thank you so much Seraphine for sharing your story with us. The work you do in Cameroon is remarkable - Keep up the good work!

Seraphine
Apr 23
Apr 23

Thank you Kabraham, I am truly humbled by your graceful support.

Ilemmens
Apr 29
Apr 29

Hello Seraphine, as I was reading this, my heart broke and I realised even more how unfair this world is. I am a mother of 2 girls and just because of where they were born- I will never have to worry about these things. It breaks my heart.
I would love to help and support your organization and create more noise!
Thank you for all you do!

Seraphine
Apr 30
Apr 30

Dear Ilemmens, I feel your heart towards us. These are some of the daily realities we struggle with. They are not your two girls yet you have such strong compassion for them, I call that kindness. Thank you so much for caring.
Yes sister I put up this post so sisters like you on this platform will know that labour and sex trafficking is too real to be ignored. I am very excited you are willing to support our organization in your own ways. Please help us create the noise! We can't do it alone dear. Here is a link to our Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/mercyseedoutreach. You can like our page and help share our recent posts.
I will like you to please reach out to me on face book through the name fanwi seraphine kakwi so I can send you short videos of some of their personal stories.
Please our fundraiser on giving way is still on, we want to buy equipments for some of those we are training in a tailoring and put up a safe shelter that can ease our rescue engagements. Here is the link.
https://www.givingway.com/campaign/59a569
Please I hope to read from you soon.
Thank you so much for your kindness.

MMLong
Apr 30
Apr 30

This reality for so many children is heartbreaking. I love your passion for helping and rescuing girls from this life. We all need to work collectively to stop trafficking. Thank you for sharing your story.

Seraphine
Apr 30
Apr 30

Oh yes sis it's indeed heart breaking. You are right, there is great need for collective action. Thank you for your support.