Often driven by deep poverty and neglect at home, children in East Africa see no other option than to sell their bodies for food and shelter. The 12-year old Akuyen from Kenya was one of those children, but fortunately she was noticed by social workers who took her off the street. Read her story.
Akuyen (12): “My family is a typical Turkana family, with ten brothers and sisters. My father is the guard of a shop in the town of Lokichar. But my parents are alcoholics and they barely take care of us. My older brothers and sisters all have tough jobs on the side during the holidays to pay for their school fees. I actually didn’t go to school at all anymore. It often happened that there was no food all day and we had to go to bed on an empty stomach. This is how I ended up on the streets.
I'm looking forward to go back to school
Akuyen (12) from Kenya
Other girls showed me around and told me how to get food. Life on the street is hostile and really, really hard. I had several men whom I provided with sexual and other services, in exchange for food and protection. One night, I was discovered by social works of the Diocese of Lodwar, a partner of Terre des Hommes, who were on patrol. They literally took me off the streets.
I’m currently living in a temporary shelter, where I get shelter, food, medical and psychological care. My parents are being helped too, they learn how to take care of our family. Through intensive guidance I can leave the street life behind and focus on the future. My life has changed; I no longer need to offer my body in exchange for food. I’m slowly getting used to normal life again as I get ready to go back to school. I’m really looking forward to sitting in the school benches again in the near future.
Children who are victims of sexual exploitation need protection. Together with partners and our donors we provide shelter, care and education. Akuyen could be saved. And now the rest. Join the fight with Terre des Hommes.