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.
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.