How it all began
3. How, exactly, and by whom are the girls found in and “rescued” from the streets?
There are various situations that we try to get the girls out of. Either they are held against their wills, or they work “willingly” as prostitutes. We had one case where a policeman abducted three girls after school one day and then locked them in a house. He forced them to undress for cybersex videos. In this case, the police saved the girls and brought them to us.
There are also girls who fall victim to human trafficking as children and then often spend their entire lives working in prostitution. These girls are not held captive, but rather work “willingly” for a pimp, who looks after them and procures customers for them. I’ve often asked myself why the girls don’t just run away. The problem is that the girls don’t have any place to go, and they need the money for their families. Many of them are addicted to drugs and caught in a cycle that they can’t break out of on their own. We work with Tisaka, a local organization that has for years been going into red-light districts and talking to the girls there. Tisaka workers distribute condoms, educate the girls about diseases and dangers, and tell them about other life and working opportunities. It takes a lot of trust for the girls to believe someone new, because so often they have been betrayed or exploited by people who claimed that they want to help them. So, some of our girls come from the streets and want to start a new life – with the help of the education and the possibilities that Malisa Home offers them. It’s not easy for these girls to make this decision, because once they do, they are no longer able to send money home – and often the existence of their parents and siblings depends on the girls’ income.