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2015 (Narrative date)

There are an estimated 1,045,000 people living in conditions of modern slavery in the Democratic Republic of Congo (GSI 2018). In 2016 several armed groups continued to abduct and forcibly recruit men, women and children as combatants and in support roles such as guards, cleaners, cooks and spies. In 2016, 184 cases of child soldiers were reported, with 1,662 children reported to have separated or escaped from armed groups. Child soldiers who manage to escape remain vulnerable to re-recruitment as adequate rehabilitation services remain unavailable to children suffering trauma, stigmatisation and the continued threat of armed groups.

Deshna joined the Alliance des Patriotes pour un Congo Libre et Souverain (APCLS) in September 2012 to escape her abusive stepmother.

I was working as a cook and house girl for Major [B.]. He had three wives. I needed soap to wash myself and he would only give it to me if I had sex with him. It happened three times.

Narrative provided by MONUSCO in their report ‘Invisible Survivors: Girls in Armed Groups in the Democratic Republic of Congo from 2009 to 2015