More than 50 girls rescued from modern slavery in one day

On Good Friday more than 50 girls were rescued from modern slavery in Uganda, with the support of Hope for Justice staff, who worked tirelessly with partners throughout the holiday.

Several of Hope for Justice’s local teams were vital to the success of the targeted rescue, carried out by police and local partners at a number of city brothels, after concerns were raised about activity in the area.

17 of the girls, who had experienced commercial sexual exploitation, have now been taken in by Hope for Justice Lighthouses, our network of residential and transitional aftercare shelters.

Upon arrival, the 17 girls understandably appeared afraid and unsure. But our expert staff talked gently and calmly with them, and soon noticed several of them smiling in response. By the end of the day, all the girls seemed much more at ease.

Photograph shows some of the survivors taking part in a hairdressing workshop at one of our Lighthouses

The girls will now be cared for by our Lighthouse teams in the coming weeks and months. The other girls who were rescued, many of whom had been trafficked into forced begging, are being cared for by another non-profit.

Florence Soyekwo, Uganda Director at Hope for Justice, said: “Since their arrival, these brave girls are already beginning to settle in. Some of them took part in a hairdressing workshop at one of our Lighthouses, and it was wonderful to see them smiling and laughing. We’re looking forward to caring for and supporting these girls as they courageously take their first steps into their new life of freedom.

“I’m incredibly proud of all of our teams in Uganda for their fantastic efforts to help the police with the rescue, and provide logistical support including rapid Covid-19 testing, and emergency supplies.

“Now, as we look to the future, we’re confident that we’ll help the girls heal from their trauma and move on, rebuild their lives, and ultimately achieve their dreams.”

About our Lighthouse initiative:

Hope for Justice has 11 Lighthouses, in Uganda, Cambodia, Ethiopia. They directly serve around 2,000 children a year, rescued from trafficking, from brothels, from forced child marriages or from the worst vulnerability to trafficking on the streets. Teams based at our Lighthouses also do Outreach and Community Prevention and Education work that reaches tens of thousands of children a year (102,803 children reached in 2019-2020). Our Lighthouses provide:

-Safe shelter
-Trauma-informed care and counselling
-Good food
-Medical care
-Life skills, education and a space to learn and play in freedom
-Help for children to give evidence against their abusers to police and in court, to see justice done
-When it is safe to do so, we get children back to their families or to safe family-based care

Lighthouses are staffed by Hope for Justice’s world-class teachers, medics, counselors, guards, nurses, therapists, drivers, social workers and cooks to give these precious children everything they need to recover from their experiences in a place of safety and to build a brighter future for them.