A 13-year-old ex prostitute yesterday narrated how she met NAREP president Elias Chipimo who then committed to help transform her life.
Speaking during a 5fm radio show called Kambani alongside Chipimo, the juvenile explained that she wrote an essay detailing her ‘extra curricula activities’ for a school assignment which ended up landing her a meeting with the politician who has started a youth empowerment program dubbed Twenty Percent Generation.
“I started prostitution last year, and what drove me were desires. My friends used to look good with nice things when I had nothing. When I looked at my friends, what they ate, us we didn’t have and the belongings they had we did not have. I then inquired what I had to do to have what my friends had that’s when I started prostitution. I started prostitution on my own, last year on October 24 when I went to Heroes Stadium where I met a certain guy and he asked for my number. From there, we started communicating until the day I went to his place and found that he was married. I stated arguing with his wife and we even fought,” Becky (not her real name) said.
“I used to lie when I go to bars that I am 18-years-old so that I could be allowed to enter. I met Mr Elias Chipimo through my school…and we were told to write stories about ourselves and that’s when I wrote a story about my life. I don’t know where my teacher took our papers. After a few days, she told me that I had to go on radio and before coming here I didn’t know the place we went to and that is where I met Mr Chipimo. He then started interviewing me about my involvement in prostitution and my family. My mother is a maid who earns K500. My mother used to refuse collect my money because it was gained through prostitution. I had stopped going to school because my friends were mocking me but I am now back in school.”
Becky also narrated that at one point, she moved into a house with other prostitutes.
“Others we used to stay with them in Matero East and then we moved to Emmasdale where we were staying only girls in the house, we were two young ones and two old ones together we were staying the four of us. We used to contribute K100 each to make K400 for the rentals. The old ones are the ones who brought men to us and we would give them K200 and remained with K100 when we had been paid K300,” said Becky.
Meanwhile, Chipimo observed that lack of sufficient income in most households perpetuated prostitution.
“So you know, prostitution is just one [of the problems]. There is an issue of blessers or of sexual offenders, issues of defilement, issues of crime and street kids, they all have at their root, a lack of an income generating opportunity by communities and individual households. When you look at the profile of the schools in this country, there is something like over 1,000 primary and secondary schools but less than 800 of those are secondary schools which means that seven out of eight children who enter primary schools will not have anywhere to go once they complete their primary school. They are left out in the cold, if they don’t have a relative to pay for them to do a course or some kind of training, they are the ones you find selling dogs and flyers on the street, they are the ones working for a daily wage or a K20 which amounts to about less than K400 a month,” Chipimo said.
“They are the ones applying to work as garden boys, they are the ones being hired as labourers in these short term contracts or they are the young girls going out in the street selling their bodies, not because of a deep desire to get into these activities but because there are things that they want. They need money for school, they need to maintain themselves a life style and that is why it is natural in many people. Out of poverty they go out to sell their bodies.”
He said there was need for everyone to take up the responsibility of rescuing young people from such activities.
“This is a reality, they are not able to look after their children and children now have to get into these practices. It is at the heart of this issue, of poverty and for me I did not come into public light just to get glory for myself that’s not what I am doing. I am doing this because there is a real opportunity for us to rescue a phase of life for these young people to give them some hope because if you look at them, they didn’t have hope so let them have all hope. Yet they had all these dreams and they are thinking ‘how will I ever get the things I see all these other people have because I come from a poor background or a poor family’. And that is why we are trying to employ everybody that please government officials, the private, the President, you see poverty needs to be given a real face and its face is prostitution, its defilement, its crime, its street kids, its begging, its blessers, its sugar daddies, its abortion, its teenage pregnancies, its early marriages,” said Chipimo.
“This is the face of poverty and until you start to look at it and say look this is how real this problem is. If you listen to the stories of how this devil street there in Emmasdale is active, the police know about it. The people who go there for the market know about it but we do nothing about it and look at the lives it is affecting, this girl here wants to be a lawyer I am so proud to hear her say that and she is determined and I am personally going to make sure that I play a role if I can just help one person then she can also make an impact, one person can change the world she can change a community she can be strong.”