Lesotho, a nation with its own unique beauty and culture, faces several intertwined challenges that deeply impact its people. From the orphan crisis to the AIDS epidemic, from crippling poverty to the dark shadow of human trafficking, these issues don’t just exist in isolation; they exacerbate one another, creating a cycle of suffering for many. But that doesn’t have to be the case forever.
The Orphan Crisis & AIDS
The AIDS epidemic in Lesotho has left around 300,000 children orphaned. This staggering number places Lesotho as the third-highest HIV-infected country globally, boasting an adult prevalence rate of 23.2%.
When children have no knowledgeable guardians or family to guide and protect them, they become so much more vulnerable. This often leads them to fall prey to scams and false promises, making them prime targets for human traffickers.
Lesotho sees approximately 75% of its orphans, widows, and families either living in poverty or teetering on its edge. The fight for daily survival pushes many adults to their limits, inevitably causing their children to abandon education in pursuit of work. However, this desperate hunt for a better life often ends tragically. Many find themselves ensnared in slavery, sexual exploitation, or forced child labor
The realities of human trafficking
Children orphaned by the AIDS epidemic and women from unstable homes in Lesotho face a grim reality. Traffickers, exploiting their desperation, lure them with promises of better opportunities and a brighter future. But this is just a ruse to lure them away from safety and into a grim life.
What BDS is doing about it
In the face of these profound challenges, we are taking proactive measures to combat the multifaceted issues in Lesotho. As these issues intersect and compound on each other, so should our solutions. Here is just a taste of what we do:
Shelter for Survivors
Recognizing the trauma and challenges that survivors face, BDS has established an anti-trafficking shelter in Maseru, Lesotho, Africa. This safe haven provides immediate protection and holistic care, including food, clothing, emotional, legal, psychological, and spiritual support for survivors and their children.
We are in the process of building a self-sustaining Children’s Village Project to protect more victims and their families and ensure we can remain doing so for many years.
Our team of transit monitors works in pairs to spot human trafficking at popular routes, often intercepting before the victim even knows she is being trafficked.
In conjunction with the US government, the Lesotho government, Love Justice International, and we are working to end human trafficking in Lesotho before it even begins.
Human trafficking laws didn’t exist in Lesotho until 2011. Education for Lesotho citizens of the crime of human trafficking, how to stop it, and the law enacted by Parliament to prosecute it is a key part of our mission.
How you can help
We are only able to do the work we do because of the generous support we receive from our supporters, but we need help to continue and grow our efforts. Here’s how you can help!
Donate: Every contribution is invaluable, no matter the amount. Because of the exchange rate, your dollars can make a big impact!
Spread the word: Awareness is a powerful tool. Share the mission and efforts of BDS with your community, friends, and social networks. We love to speak to groups, so if you have an event coming up, please let us know.
Volunteer: If you can offer your time or skills, consider volunteering with BDS. From on-ground support to digital advocacy, there are numerous ways to get involved.
Stay informed: Educate yourself about the issues facing Lesotho and the risks of human trafficking globally. By understanding the challenges, you become a more effective advocate and supporter.
While the issues facing Lesotho are intense, they are not insurmountable! Consider donating today to help us end human trafficking.