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 One of the victims of child trafficking who was recently identified by the Foundation and withdrawn was also there to give her testimony.
THE FIGHT AGAINST CHILD TRAFFICKING, CHILD ABUSE AND CHILD LABOUR
LIFE TESTIMONY BY KILOH RUTH, VICTIM OF CHILD TRAFFICKING AND DOMESTIC LABOUR
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 mistressí 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 donít 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.
Previous Members news items
- 11/07/2005: Kenya: Kenyan Children Participate in Regional Consultation for the UN Study on Violence Against Children
- 11/07/2005: PAKISTAN: Youth Discussion Forum in support of the Human Network PEACE and ICT Research Project (11 July 2005)
- 08/07/2005: SCOTLAND: Children's C-8 Summit - Update 3
- 07/07/2005: INDIA: Youth Consultation on Habitat (9 July 2005)
- 07/07/2005: SOMALIA: Meeting on Child Protection (7 July 2005)
Organisation Contact Details:
Serve the Orphans Foundation
PO Box 12 Ndu
Tel: + 237 778 0224
Last updated 14/07/2005 09:51:05