Joyce, (not her real name) was a 16 year old girl from a village in Nigeria was an orphan. Her grandmother who took care of her, had a small shop and had difficulty in sending her to school. Her education continued only until the end of primary school. Then she did the housework and helped her grandmother in her small shop. One day she was approached by a lady who promised her a job in a restaurant in Burkina Faso. With this work she could help her grandmother and take care of her. She decided to embark on this adventure without informing the grandmother, because she was certain that she would not give permission.
After a perilous journey, without documents, Joyce arrived in Burkina Faso. The lady put her in a house with other girls and, after one night’s rest from the trip, gave her an extravagant dress an asked her to follow her on the sidewalk for prostitution. Joyce refused, fought and refused to eat. Eventually she had to give in, and pretend to agree. Sometimes she rebelled and then her trafficker beat her and bullied her. Joyce wanted to get out of this environment. After two months in this hell, she decided to run away even though she did not know the local language. After a difficult night, as the woman who exploited her was sleeping, she pretended to go to the bathroom and fled at dawn. In the street she met a student and tried to explain her situation. The young man did not want to lose class hours but Joyce refused to leave him. With the little English he knew, the student eventually realized that she was a victim of trafficking and took her to a social worker. She was taken to a foster home, where she was received and from where she was returned back to Nigeria together with another girl who had been trafficked to Burkina Faso.
Joyce received a sum of money which allowed her to open a small business in her village to support herself and her grandmother.
Story received from Burkina Faso - Talitha Kum Network
Congregazione per gli Istituti di Vita Consacrata e le Società di Vita Apostolica
Sezione Migranti & Rifugiati
Dicastero per il Servizio dello Sviluppo Umano Integrale
Pontificia Accademia delle Scienze
Unione Mondiale delle Unioni Femminili Cattoliche
Anti-Trafficking Working Group
Jesuit Refugee Service
With participation of:
World Vision to end violence against Children