Congolese Cathy lost her parents at a very early age. Her stepmother mistreated her, so she went to live with her aunt in Uganda. She ended up working in bars and clubs as a sex worker, but then she met a friend who told her that she could earn a living without engaging in these risky activities.

Sexual exploitation

"I come from Congo DRC. My Ugandan mother died when I was very young. My stepmother used to mistreat me. When I was thirteen years, I dropped out of primary school and went to live with my aunt in Uganda. She took me to work as a housemaid in Masaka. With that I earned about 10 euros per month. I met some girls on the street, who engaged in karaoke singing, stripping and giving sexual favors to men. I realised that I could earn 24 to 40 euros by doing the same, so I decided to leave my job as a housemaid. I was fifteen years old. I worked in various clubs and bars in Masaka and later moved ot Kampala."

When I complete the vocational skills training I will be a new person.

Cathy, 17 years from Uganda

"The biggest challenge I faced was the frequent arrests by the police. After two years, I was tired of the kind of life I was living. I met a friend who had stepped out of transactional sex and told me I could do the same. I went to the rehabilitation centre and was accepted. Here I am getting shelter and counseling, and I have been enrolled in the hairdressing and cosmetology class. When I complete the vocational skills training I will be a new person. I will be able to earn a living without engaging in risky activities."

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