CAMEROON: Testimony by Kiloh Ruth, Victim of Child Trafficking and Domestic Labour (14 July 2005)

Summary: On 9 July, Serve the Orphans was invited by
the Regional Office of the ILO in Yaounde-
Cameroon to address the members of the
National Assembly of Cameroon on the
situation of childtrafficking and labour in
Cameroon. One of the victims of child
trafficking who was recently identified by the
Foundation and withdrawn was also there to
give her testimony.



When Nicoline came to our village (Lassin, Noni Subdivsion in Bui Division)
some two months ago, she asked me if I could come and live in Yaounde
with the elder sister of her mistress. I refused because I did not want to
stay with somebody I do not know. She convinced me that where I was
going to live in Yaounde was not far from her mistress’ house, so we were
always going to be in contact with each other everyday. Given this
assurance, I then accepted.

One week later, Nicoline contacted my mother on her way to the farm and
talked to her about what she had discussed with me. This happened in my
absence. My mother accepted her proposal.

That same day when I met my mother in the farm, she told me what she
had discussed with Nicoline. When I asked her about the conclusion
arrived at between her and Nicoline, she said I was going to be paid
20,000 frs every month. I accepted on the condition that I will be staying
with Nicoline. My mother told me that this money would be paid to Nicoline.
I will then be given an amount that will enable me meet up with my basic
needs and Nicoline will save the remaining amount so that after 3 years I
can then come back with her to the village and that part of this money
shall be used to organise the graduation ceremony of my elder brother
who is presently in the seminary in Ndu (Donga-Mantung Division).

It seems my mother later on told my father because on the day of my
departure from our village, he is the one who announced to me the
decision he had taken with my mother, which was that I have to leave the
village that morning with Nicoline for Yaounde. My mother then gave
10,000 frs to Nicoline for my transport although she had requested for
15000 frs.

We left the village that morning 1 July 2005 and passed the night in Nso,
since our vehicle had a breakdown on the way. The next day, Saturday 2
July 2005, we left Nso for Bamenda. In Bamenda, we booked the night
vehicle and travelled that night from Bamenda to Yaounde, by Vatican
express. When we arrived Yaounde on Sunday morning at about 6.00 am
Nicoline took me to a house where there were three girls and left part of
her luggage before continuing with me to Tsinga. While in Tsinga we were
received by Mrs Minyem. Nicoline and Mrs Minyem were talking in French
and she later narrated to me that the children of Mrs Minyem were in the
village and that I was going to follow them there. I refused. Then Nicoline
left saying that Mrs Minyem had said she will go and leave me with her
junior sister when she is away, since I have refused to go with her to their
village. When I asked Nicoline where she was going to, she said she was
going to hand a letter and to come soon. That was on Sunday 3 July 2005
at about 6.00 pm. She never returned to the house. I was well taken care
of by my host in the absence of Nicoline. On Monday, July 4, 2005 my host
told me they were going to be paying me 5000 frs per month. Afraid that if
I objected this decision they might not be happy with me, I did not say
anything. On the evening of Tuesday I was told I would be taken to their
village on Wednesday morning. I refused and told them I had an uncle in
Yaounde with whom I could stay while they were away. The next day they
asked me whether I was ready to go with them and I said no. I was told I
must go to their village or I refund the 10000 frs they had given to Nicoline
as transport before they would allow me to go away. But I did not know
about this money, considering that my mother gave my transport from my
village to Yaounde to Nicoline. Then I started crying as they left with my
bag of dresses. Then Mr Minyem brought back my bag, opened the door to
their house, took the keys away and I said that I should stay in the house
and wait for him until when he comes back. At the same time, he asked me
to make sure that I keep his 10000 frs which I will hand to him on his
return before leaving his house since I have refused to go with them. I
was afraid he would do something bad to me when he comes back if I
don’t produce their money. Then I left the house crying and roaming in the
quarters. Then somebody who saw me crying asked what was wrong and I
told him. I later on realised that he was an Anglophone from the same
tribe with my mother. This was around 12 noon. He then took me to his
house where I narrated the whole story to him and that is when he called
for the people of Serve the Orphan Foundation.

I was taken away and since then I have been living with the Director of
this Foundation as investigations are going on.


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