Girls served in Hagar's Aftercare program have suffered unspeakable abuse. Yet, there are many stories of hope. Malis' (not her real name) is one of them:
At seven, when her mother took her to 'work' at a brothel in her village, Malis was not able to refuse. Some nights she met with 3 - 4 men. She always returned home to give the money to her mother. She was rescued at 10. The rescue, itself, was terrifying. There was shouting and running and Malis had no idea what was going on.
In 2005, Malis came to Hagar's Aftercare program, for girls needing long-term care. Malis was afraid of new people and new situations. Particularly when foreigners came to visit, Malis would be terrified and run and lock herself in a room. Slowly, though, she has regained hope and started to blossom.
Earlier this year, Malis completed Hagar's new Trauma-Based Cognitive Behavior Therapy program. She worked through lots of questions about her past, many of them about her mother. She acquired skills to tell her story, and she learned to challenge unhelpful and inaccurate thoughts. Her confidence and self-esteem have grown tremendously. She no longer needs intensive shelter care, so she is living with a foster family in the community.
Recently, Malis volunteered to to tell her story for a documentary on human trafficking. Throughout the process, her inner strength shone through, moving all involved in the filming to tears.