Waseema was 12, out gathering branches and goat-droppings for fuel when the men came and took her. She remembered only that it felt like her heart stopped beating. She couldn’t breathe from the fear. But that was only the beginning.
They bound her hands and blindfolded her. They raped her and beat her and fed her only tiny scraps of food.
They bound her hands and blindfolded her. They raped her and beat her and fed her only tiny scraps of food. They laughed when she cried. Then she was sold, and sold again, each time farther away from home. Months went by, she lost track, lost hope. When the moment came when she might escape, she almost didn’t take it: what was the use? Even if she made it back to her village, the elders might have her stoned as a prostitute.
Still, one dawn she did slip out, and she ran and ran until her lungs burned. But at last her luck had changed. She was picked up by a HAWCA volunteer and brought to one of the safe havens for trafficking victims. Now she is hungrily learning all she can. One day she hopes to work on a computer, in a HAWCA office. And to help other girls escape from their nightmares.