Today I learned of the issues surrounding child trafficking and the sex trade. This epidemic is becoming more common across the globe, more than we realize. Young girls starting around the age of 11 can be found along the sides of the streets being marketed for sex for as little as 0.20 per transaction with up to four clients a day. This conversation between Patrick and I stemmed out of the story of one of the little girls which he rescued from the streets. Her name is Rose, and she is between 11-12 years old. She was abandoned by her parents and was forced to live in the slums. Out of her vulnerability, she was taken in by a group of young prostitutes that expressed she could earn a living through prostituting and would also be protected by the man whom was marketing her. Given her current situation which was living without food and shelter, sadly this young girl saw this as a means for survival.
You hear of these stories from time to time, but the concept just seems so surreal and is hard for us as westerners to comprehend. If you met Rose, you would first be caught by her beautiful smile and kind demeanor. You can tell she longs for the father’s love and deeply wants to be accepted. Thankfully Patrick rescued Rose when he did as she was only (saying only doesn't even seem right) being sold on the streets for roughly 6 months. He had been working with her for about 6 weeks, and said enough is enough after she shared she had been severely beaten and raped by an older man. There are so many other stories such as Rose’s, and shockingly enough most Ugandan run organizations view these poor, down trodden young girls as a disease which they do not want to get involved with. It is easier for them to ignore the stories and look the other way. Where there are some helpful programs, they are truly few and far between.
Rose is only 2 years older than my daughter Madison. I couldn’t imagine any child being in these kinds of situations which Rose has had to endure. I know this is is heavy stuff and difficult to read, but the truth needs to be communicated and something has to be done! As I shared this info with Jenny last night, I found myself choked up and unable to speak for a moment. It is one thing to hear the stories, and a whole other to meet a child who has actually lived it.
I am hopeful for Rose because I know she is now in a safe environment filled with love and affection, and her future has already become brighter. She has a place to lay her head down each night without the fear of being beaten or abused. She has only been at the RUHU home for 6 weeks, but I am assuming her time spent at the house is the very best life she has ever experienced since child birth. I am grateful for Patrick’s heart for these street children and his determination to see them raised up out of a place of despair and into a place of HOPE. Your efforts back home are making a difference in the lives of many. Thank you for all of your love and support and may you continue to be blessed in all of your giving!