The community in the Regional House had occasion to come face to face with a clear case of child-trafficking. A young girl, aged about fourteen was brought to the house for safe accommodation. Her name is not disclosed but we may call her Netty. Her story begins in Kasama (Northern Province) where she was happily attending Grade Eight in a day school. A friend of her mother came to their village and suggested that if she went to Lusaka with this friend she would do better.
She was told that while she attended school in Lusaka she would also take care of the baby in the household and be able to remit some money to her mother. Netty was agreeable, believing in the “uplift” of schooling in the capital city and enjoying other amenities not available in the village.
Weeks passed after she arrived in Lusaka and there was no talk of her going to school and every day her work load was increased so that she was working in the house from dawn until late at night. Several times she asked and pleaded that she should go to school but she was denied access. One day she decided to escape and go home to Kasama. Not knowing where she was in relation to the bus terminus she wandered around, and as evening was approaching, after enquiring from one man, he offered her accommodation for the night and promised to take her to the station early next morning. And that is what he did. He stayed with her and he begged the bus driver to take her to Kasama, saying that her mother would pay the fare when they would arrive. But the bus driver refused. Her escort then said that he would phone a Catholic woman with whom he was acquainted. When this lady understood the nature of the case she rang Sr Kayula Lesa who collected Netty from the station brought her to the Regional House and then contacted the Social Welfare Department to inform them. They in turn made some enquiries in Kasama. They uncovered the fact that the same woman had recruited twenty-five other children and had them enslaved under false pretences.
Netty showed herself to be intelligent and courageous. She would say “Wait until my mother hears of what has happened to me, she will accuse her.” After two days, the Social Welfare officials agreed that we could put her on the bus for Kasama, promising that she would be met at the terminus. We were happy to be part of that rescue and we pray that Netty has returned to her mum and her village and her school. We feel she is strong enough to advise her friends against accepting fair promises which can only lead to misery. Thank God at least one child has been rescued.
Sr. Madeleine Kelly