Sierra Leone - Aminata and Augusta: night and day, fear and hope, prostitution and a new life.

15 June 2017

(ANS - Freetown) - Aminata and Augusta did not know each other. Augusta worked as a prostitute to be able to eat, but now has her own catering business and strives to make it clear to other girls that they should not take that road. Aminata, on the other hand, believes she has to be a prostitute because her grandmother and her mother both were. Augusta is grateful to Don Bosco for the new life that has been given to her, while Aminata is aware of wanting to get out of that world, and appreciates the Salesians' efforts to persuade her, ... but she still resists.

Aminata was the first girl that Salesian missionary Fr Jorge Crisafulli met in the streets when in September he began a program aimed at searching for such girls in their workplaces where they were surrounded by alcohol and drugs, darkness and danger; the intention was, and is, to help them, offer them shelter, health, nutrition, education and, and wherever possible, reintegrate them into their families.

Since then, young people come and go to "Girls Shelter" (Refuge for Girls) when they are hungry or need something. Aminata was the only one in her group to resist abandoning prostitution and starting a new life.

"It's a challenge for us getting her to leave the street and I think we are closer to that goal each time. It costs her to assimilate the rules and timetables, since she has grown up in the freedom of the streets, "explains Fr Crisafulli.

She earn no more than 15,000 leones (less than 2 euros) at each encounter, a little more without the use of condoms. "Men prefer that, but many do not even pay you, or they even hit you and steal everything," Aminata reports.

She is "afraid to live on the street because I have seen many companions die sick and I am very grateful for what Don Bosco is doing for me."

She speaks with great naturalness about how police officers, after sweeping them off the streets, keep her in the police station and ask to have sex in order to be freed; or how the Chinese mafias carry them onto their boats ... "we pay for this transport, but they also pay a lot more, up to 350,000 leones (about 40 euros), but they are very unpleasant situations," Aminata says.

Yet she continues to go back to the street because she cannot convince herself that there may be another life, a much better life.




ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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