“There is food, the house is secure, and I have my bed. For the first time in a long time, I don’t have to worry about where I will get my next meal,” said 15-year-old Lineo. She lived in poverty, and her family forced her into early marriage to rescue themselves from poverty.
Lineo’s extended family raised her, and it was clear from an early age that her responsibility was to make her own way and survive. Lineo’s aunts claimed that she must marry a rich, much older man. In exchange, the man would provide for Lineo and her family.
The idea and practice of child marriage are rooted in gender inequality, believing that girls and women are inferior to boys and men. It is also compounded by poverty, lack of education, harmful social norms and practices, and more. Child marriage is a human rights violation and is a type of human trafficking. Unfortunately, Lineo became a child marriage statistic when she was forced to marry a man without her consent.
From the beginning of the forced marriage, Lineo expressed her extreme dissatisfaction. Because of many failed attempts to escape, she felt miserable and hopeless. One day, she was able to tell her story to a woman she met at a medical clinic. The woman called the Lesotho Child Helpline and told them what had happened to Lineo. Lineo’s case was referred to the authorities. Thankfully she was placed in the BDS Crisis Care Shelter for Victims of Human Trafficking.
The shelter met Lineo’s basic needs in a loving, trauma-informed home. Lineo also received psychosocial counseling services. Now she has started the entire crisis shelter program. She is setting her own goals and planning the next steps for her life, all with the support of BDS.
Lineo is so grateful for the help she is receiving from the BDS house mothers, the staff, and the other survivors in the program who have supported her emotionally through her journey of healing. Lineo shared that a weight has been lifted off her shoulders!
Thank you so much for your generous support! Because of you, Lineo has been freed from human trafficking and has started her journey of healing. If you are interested in helping more women and children, you can donate through our website. We greatly appreciate all donations!