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2015 (Narrative date)

At the age of 13, Sophie was forced to work as a domestic slave, deprived of sleep and beaten. She endured months of abuse at the hands of relatives who had tricked her parents. She suffered for over a year before being rescued. Sophie was helped through the recovery process by HAART Kenya. There are thousands of women and children trafficked from and through Kenya every year.

I'm 30 years old I am not married but I'm not single. I work for [?] as a consultant and they do youth development and business development. When I was 13 my dad had just lost his job and we were really struggling. He was struggling to take us to school, struggling to make ends meet, and he had lost everything. We had lost everything when moved from -- not like move us, from not having three cars parked outside the door, to living in a single room in Kibera overnight.

My dad sold the last thing that he had. He had, like, an old engine of a car, if I remember, that he sold an old engine of a car, and I remember he got something like 10,000 or 15,000, and it was enough to take me to school because by then I was in class 7, and my dad thought you have to go to school because next year you are sitting for exams and it's important for you to go to school.

So my dad gave my uncle money to take me to school. He gave my uncle money because my uncle lived in Kisumu and I was in a boarding school in Kakamega so it did make sense -- instead of my parents, who did not have money to take me all the way, for my uncle to go with me when he was going. So my uncle is given the money, my dad and my mom did some shopping for me and said "okay, fine – go." I thought that I'd go to school then Sunday came and talked about taking me to school. Monday came and he didn't take me to school. And so did the next Monday and the following Monday and I started asking "ok, why am I not going to school?" and now he told me why I wasn't going to school. 

They took, he took, the stuff, this little shopping that my parents had bought for me, they started using it in the house and I ended up staying and just – in the house and they started, cause my uncle had – my uncle's first wife died now he had, like, another wife and his wife had kids and the whole just mixed families – I don't know. So they made me work in the house all the kids went to school I remember they didn't allow me to leave so that in case anybody saw me and found out that I wasn't going to school. So I had to work from morning to evening, take care of everybody, make sure everybody has been to school, in other words I was a maid for that whole year and every time I tried to ask anything they wouldn't tell me why I wasn't going to school and it moved, it just kept getting worse, it moved from me working from morning to evening to me not even being able to sleep on a bed they put me under, like, the house had a stair I was sleeping, like kinda, on the floor with – it was just bad. Too, sometimes, I couldn't even eat, if I ate it was an issue, and they would fight. In between there I started being abused sexually, so there was molestation, there was rape, in between and it was just so -- for the whole year, it was just – I would say it was hell. Just moved from something – to me going to school, to me being a slave, and this was my family.At the end of the year I remember – I remember those days thinking don't – can't my mom, like when first when April came and people are supposed to go back, I remember wondering – can't my mum, why are my parents not coming to pick me up? Why aren't they concerned that maybe something is happening to me and now on top of everything that I was going through there was this anger towards my parents, like, who does that to their children? You know, who leaves their children somewhere and doesn't remember that they exist or I really don't know. 

I went for something for the while back and some professor said that we create laws to protect our values and if we don't, if we, if we don't obey those laws and don't implement those laws then, it's sort of, questions: what sort of values we have as a nation and that's the thing that I'm worried about. I don't think that the justice system is the problem, it can, I sort of think that the value system is the problem.

 As told to Freedom United