Maybe it was more a time when I felt the urge to write. The necessity to write. To cover a global issue which was my job at the time. Human Trafficking.
Although a number of years back now it still takes its place in my mind, I believe, because the of the sheer vulnerability of a young child so close to me and so normal in appearance.
It would have been approximately halfway through my six month assignment raising awareness about human trafficking in Kenya. I had settled into life in Nairobi. I had made new friends and I felt we were starting to make progress on the job at hand.
One particular day I was travelling with colleagues from our office in the capital to our shelter for victims of human trafficking at a secret location away from the bustle of the city. It was hot and sunny – a typical day you could expect in Nairobi at the time of year. We stopped outside a partner organisation and my colleague went inside for a few moments. As I sat in the car waiting for my colleague to return a young student started to walk toward me.
I thought it was odd at first. A young student, on her own, wandering around outside coming toward me as I waited patiently for my colleague. Was the girl lost? Was she looking for somebody? Then all of a sudden I was hit with an outstanding feeling of horror – I realised this young student was looking for us. She was the victim we (were lucky and grateful) to be able to help.
If I were to guess an age of this young girl I would say she was aged between eight and twelve years. It was a moment when I was brought back to reality in a strange land. This moment also made me feel the work we were doing was worthwhile. Victims can be any age, gender or come from any background or country.
For more information on human trafficking in Kenya see here – https://haartkenya.org/