Teenage years are the hardest in any young girl’s life. But if you add to that the strains of living off limited resources in a third world country without much opportunity for work, your mother passing away and your father abandoning you, the outcome is far more than most could bear.
This is *Rory’s story.
Home should be a place of safety and a parent a protector but for *Rory, this was not the case. A family member that she should be able to entrust her life to, betrays that trust for their own personal gain. After Rory’s mom died when she was only 14, her father deserted her and sent her to live with some distant relatives. As is the case for most families in her home country, they had to do all they could to get by. Despite this, Rory was happy and well taken care of. Shortly after her 16th birthday, her father appeared out of the blue with an opportunity to Steve, an uncle whom she had never met, in Europe. For any young girl the chance to travel and see the world would spark a glimmer of hope- especially since her circumstances seemed to present none outside of the life she had come to know and love. Before she was to set course for Europe, she had to stop over at her father’s new home- Johannesburg.
Upon arrival in South Africa, *Rory’s father immediately arranged false documents and coached her into what to say as she was leaving for Europe. She was not to tell them her home country or give any details about her father, her uncle, or any one who had given her the documents. Rory was then met by the LJSA team as she was departing who heard her story and immediately were suspicious. As soon as it was confirmed that there was something indeed wrong with her documents, the team knew that Rory was in trouble. *Rory’s story represents many more just like hers
After spending some time interviewing Rory, the team was able to understand where she had come from and explained to her that she was in the process of being trafficked. Rory was despondent- why would her own father do that to her? This question motivated her to hand information over to law enforcement and for a case to be opened against him. She was then taken to a place of safety until her safe return to her relatives could be arranged.
Rory’s story isn’t over but her story now has a different plot, perhaps more hopeful, because she was intercepted from further trauma by our team on the ground in South Africa.
*Not the real names