Prostituting for survival – a grim reality in Lesotho

The prostitution industry is rapidly growing in areas prone to human trafficking. Prostitution is often a last resort for women in Lesotho who need to make a living. They look for any other possibility before succumbing to this lifestyle. Today, we wanted to highlight one woman’s journey from prostitution to prosperity.

Nthati’s life before prostitution

Nthati was a domestic worker in South Africa before the COVID-19 pandemic. Once the pandemic spread to her area, she was forced to leave that position and look for work elsewhere. A friend of hers offered her a job at a brothel, which she declined at first. As she became more desperate, though, she had to reconsider her situation.

Nthati was the primary breadwinner for her family. There was no one else to take on her financial burden. This story is far too common in Lesotho and is one that human traffickers rely on. They take advantage of women in desperate situations and offer false promises of a better future. Thankfully, Nthati was able to turn her life around before falling prey to one of these schemes.

Life as a prostitute in Lesotho

Nthati agreed to work and live in a brothel to provide for her family. She had to pay rent and buy her own food from them every day. She was not happy with the setup, but she found solace in the fact that she could keep the money she earned and visit her family as often as she wanted.

The situation took a turn for the worse when Nthati was exposed to drugs. The brothel-keeper started taking most of her money, leaving only enough for food and rent. She went from being in control of her own actions to having to ask permission every time she wanted to go somewhere. Most of her requests were denied, and the brothel-keeper tracked her phone as an extra precaution.

Nthati was able to sneak away from the brothel by leaving all of her belongings behind. She found some good Samaritans who helped her return home, but her trauma was not over yet.

How Nthati worked through her trauma after prostitution

When she got to Lesotho, Nthati had a mental breakdown. She was admitted to a mental health hospital and eventually referred to Beautiful Dream Society.

Nthati was immediately surrounded by positive support. She was able to let her guard down in a judgment-free environment and process the trauma she went through. Over time, she learned to forgive herself for the decisions she felt forced to make in her past.

Nthati worked with a psychologist at BDS, and she is now enrolled in the ongoing shelter programs. She plans to be a “jack of all trades” when she leaves the shelter and has immersed herself in many skill development courses.

Nthati looks forward to daily devotions and weekly Bible studies. She says that building her relationship with God has helped her feel light, free, and ready to take on the next chapter of her life.

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