Anitha’s StoryAnitha (34) and a mother of two young teenagers’ boys, living in Kahama Shinyanga narrates her story. “I was trapped into a forced marriage by my family when I was a teenager. A man who married me was older than my father and he was regarded rich in our village due to a large number of cattle he possessed. My parents forced me to that man because they were promised 10 cows as a dowry. Since I entered into that man house, I didn’t find peace. At the age of 16 only, I was married as a fourth wife. I was not happy but I could not return home due to our traditions. They told me that if I will return home my parents would die. So I stay there. Two years after my marriage my husband married another wife and a year later another wife again. The home was full of six wives and more than 16 children. The environment was tough for me as a young mother and a teenager too. I decided to run from my husband to town (Mwanza then) where I went to be a housemaid of one rich family. This time, I left my children with their fathers and the rest of women. Things were not easy to that rich family. Everyday abuses, neglecting, name-calling made me to move to another house for the same job. Things were tough too. I keep moving from house to house until I get tired with house chores. It is this time, when one man approached me to go and work to his bar as a bar maid. Previously, no one could convinced me to work in a bar but this time I was convinced due to the hardship I faced from my husband house, from people’s houses and the facts that I could return back home. There was no option but to be a barmaid. I started being a barmaid when I was 25 years old with a salary of 25,000Tshs. It was also the same time when I heard that my children are no longer going to school and they are maltreated by the other wives. I decided to move from a ghetto and I rent a small room worth 10,000Tshs per month then. I travelled back to Geita (my husband house) and took my two young boys with me. We came Mwanza together and a new life of another struggling began there. I wanted to see my boys at school at the same time I wanted to see them get feed all the time. It was tough for me with a salary of 25,000Tshs per month. There was no any other alternative but to enter into sex trade. Apart from my job, every day I could sleep with more than 10 men. I was very tired but I had no alternative. I worked as a prostitute for nine years but apart from eating and changing clothes, no any other profit I gained in the business. I feel tortured, humiliated, disrespected and lonely. I met Lilian November last year and she inspired me a lot. I was encouraged by her love to prostitutes and her message of life without prostitution. Since that day I decided to change for the best. I had 200,000Tshs in a bank. I move from bar to a small vendor whereby I sell fruits and vegetable near my house. It is two month now, my children are eating normal, they go to school as usual and my business is continue growing every day. I have learned that everything is possible if you take a step. Since then, I have become an ambassador to other prostitutes who are still in the business. Thank you Lilian! Thank you Equality For All!"
Lucy’s Story“My name is Lucy. I am 20 years old and a mother of a 4 years old girl. I was born in Muleba, Karagwe in 1994 and I am the first born in our family out of six children. When I was in form two in 2010 I got pregnant from my fellow classmate. I dropped the school and he continued. I stayed at home until I delivered my baby girl. During that time my mother was also pregnant and our babies due date difference were only one month. It was hard for the two nursing mothers to stay together then because life in the village was very hard and the family was suffering. At this time my father had a new wife in the nearby village so he stopped looking after us and he moved on to the new wife. I agreed with my mother that I should left her with my baby so that she could nurse 2 babies at the same time breastfeeding them while me should go to town to look for a job to care for them. I left my baby when she was only 4 months with my mother and I came to Kahama to look for a job. For the first time, I got a job at a bar as a barmaid and I was paid by commission. The more I sell beer, the more the commission. I was able to save not more than 30,000Tshs per month to send home but later I realized that, the money is not enough for the family since my mother is there alone without my father and all my siblings are still dependants. I decided to go with men in order to increase my income and this is how I fall into the life of prostitution. Unfortunately, I am also an HIV positive although my mother is not aware of my HIV status.Last month, December I met Lilian and I was inspired to change my life and live a decent life. Now is nearly a month since I had stop going with men for commercial sex. I do my job as a bar maid but I have not prostituting again. I wish I could met them before been transmitted HIV?AIDS. I wish all women in sex trade could meet Equality For All. They really do great job."
Mwanahamisi’s StoryMwanahamisi (27) narrates her story as follows; “ My name is Mwanahamisi. I am from Tanga. I came to Kahama one year ago for sex trade. I just finished standard seven and I had no opportunity to continue to secondary school. I started prostitution since I was fourteen (14) and I do not have a child yet. Every day, I was asking myself when should I be able to leave this life of prostitution? Because it was like an addiction to me. Every time I tried, I failed. It is hard to explain, I think it is more psychological. But thanks God, Equality for All made it happened. It was just November last year when I meet them, we became friends and later they introduced to me their mission to help sex workers move from the life of prostituting. This was the opportunity I was waiting for. I told them about inevitability I faced once I want to leave this life and they encouraged me that everything is possible. Since then they continue visiting me and counseling. Now is one month I have never prostituting again and on February I am going back to Tanga to live near home with my parents and I will open the small business there. Thank you Lilian and the team."