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Christelle's story

Help children like Christelle: donate to Plan's anti-child trafficking programs.
Help children like Christelle: donate to Plan's anti-child trafficking programs.

Christelle is a young girl living in Togo, West Africa. She was a victim of child trafficking who survived; returning home to start her life again.

Here is her story, in her own words:

One day a woman named Yawa came to my village to talk with another woman… about me. The two women told my mother that I could make a lot of money working in Gabon and that I would be able to continue my education while there. They said I would be in good hands and safe.

Yawa returned with three other girls and we were taken by another lady first to Be, a suburb of Lorme, then on a bus to Benin. We had to cross the Togo-Benin border on foot, then took another vehicle to Cotonou, the capital, where we were brought together with another 30 girls.

We were fed sugar, flour and steamed dough. From there, we took a boat to Cotonou. We were kept in the back, hidden under a tarp. We were at sea for seven days.

When we reached Gabon, the police were on patrol. The crew fled the boat and we were taken in canoes to a village on the water. We were put on a bus to Gabon where we were finally reunited with Yawa.

A few days later, I was brought to stay with a couple who owned a shop where I was to help out.

After a few days of work, I started having trouble. The woman began insulting me, calling me a thief, and hitting me. When she was away, her husband would touch me. I was afraid of him, but he kept threatening me.

Then one night, he raped me.

It was not long before I became aware of the signs. I knew I was pregnant. When I told the couple, they sent me away. I was helpless, on the streets of a strange place.

Somehow I found the Togolese embassy and they helped me return home. . . .