According to UNICEF, child and forced marriage is a human rights violation and a harmful practice that adversely affects women and girls globally, preventing them from living their lives fully free from violence.
Child marriage further exposes girls to gender-based violence as a result of the inequality that often characterizes such marriages and puts them at the risk of many health risks due to early child birth. The disruption of their education threatens their futures, making them vulnerable to poverty and preventing them from participating in economic, political, and social spheres.
Sadly, Beautiful Dream Society has seen many girls contribute to the prevailing statistics of forced marriages in Lesotho. Poverty is one of the most common issues that leads people to fall into traps, making them believe that they’ve finally found their way out of poverty.
Growing up in a poverty-stricken family makes people vulnerable and easy to persuade. Typically, a friend or relative tells them about a job opportunity in a bigger city or in South Africa, and the victim believes their life is about to change for the better. When the girls get to the destination of the job, they realize they have been deceived and are forced into a marriage—usually an older man.
Most of the girls try to escape but are either unable to, or they simply just give up. Thankfully, the girls are able to escape or be rescued by someone who reports the issue to police and finds their way to the Beautiful Dream Society Crisis Care Shelter for Victims of Human Trafficking.
While at the shelter, the girls receive food, clothing, medical evaluation, and medical care, and they are comforted and assisted as the staff facilitate each girl to be able to make a police report so that a criminal case can be opened against all perpetrators of this crime.
Trafficking survivors also receive psychosocial support and court preparation for when they go to court to testify against the perpetrators. Girls also are able to learn life skills with the loving housemothers such as gardening, sewing, knitting, crocheting, baking, and studying financial management. The girls also have the opportunity to attend church and participate in times of prayer and Bible study with other survivors, although no one is ever forced to do so.
It is amazing the changes that can happen to these young survivors when they are protected in a loving environment where they receive trauma-informed care and concern. We are so thankful for all of our partners whose generous financial gifts enable these lives to be saved.
We couldn’t do any of this without your help!