Marie’s* life was marked by exploitation, rape, substance abuse and alcohol. This was her reality every day as a sex worker on the streets of Nateete.
A series of events led her to this life, where she was forced to trade herself as some kind of commodity.
Growing up, she experienced abuse, including rape and violence. Marie wasn’t able to go very far with her education, which left her without any skill to earn a living. And this frustrating cycle left her feeling bitter and hopeless.
As a young girl, Marie was forced to marry early to escape her home problems, and she had two children. Without any sources of income, she found herself joining a group of sex workers in the slum of Nateete.
In her own words, Marie shares: “Some days, I preferred [not to go working on streets] so I didn’t have to face what I was going through”. She was raped several times, and every time she reported it to the police, they did nothing to help her. Marie’s life was always dangerous and tough.
People stopped looking at her as a human being, but as an object to be used. That was until a friend told Irene about a church – Haggai’s church – that might be able to help.
Out of curiosity, Marie and eight other friends went along to the church… and they’ve been going along ever since. Marie attends classes there and has learnt how to read the Bible.
All Marie needed was a place where she was accepted and valued. She joined the church’s program that up-skills these women, and she now has access to counselling, life skills and job training. She hopes to establish her own business so she no longer needs to work in the sex trade.
Haggai is one of our partners working in Nateete, Uganda. Click here to read more about his work with empowering sex workers in the slum where he serves.
*Name has been changed to protect her privacy