+234 808 729 0000

Wariff Outreach

We set out from the Freedom Foundation Office around 11AM to meet with the WARIF team at Yaba. There were a lot of others like me (volunteers) from WARIF. They were very friendly. We all made our way to the outreach site; the brothels. After the prep talk given us by Genesis House Program Director Chioma Dike, I was powered up and ready to go … or so I thought. So we all thought.

On getting there, we were introduced to the women in pairs after which we were on our own. My first encounter with one of the women was a very frightening experience. Not because of the tinny, stuffy rooms, nor because of the even tinnier double beds. Not because of the dimly lit halls nor the heavy musky smell clinging to the doors, the curtains, the floor, the walls clad with vulgar posters …

I wasn’t even frightened by the men lurking around every corner, eyes hazy with alcohol and lips laden with foul language.

What frightened me the most about this encounter was the woman herself. She was so regular. Nothing about her screamed ‘prostitute’ or ‘abused’. My heart broke as I realized she could just as easily have been a banker, an engineer, a business woman if life had dealt her a better hand.

The women were very self-conscious at first, but began to warm up to us with time. They swapped stories with us, made jokes, some cared for their babies while keeping us company. Many of them had been internally trafficked by their relatives or close friends, some had found work in the brothels because they felt they couldn’t do anything else to earn a living. Very few were working at the brothel to save up for their future. One of the women was actually working at the brothel to save up for her wedding! We exchanged contact details and told them about our foundation making sure they knew we would be waiting with open arms for them whenever they decided to leave.

Towards the end of our 2 hour long visit, the women began to get grouchy. It was time for siesta, time to rest, recharge and get ready for the night’s work.

It isn’t enough to sigh and whisper “what a pity”, “Eiya”, “Such a sad story”. We must be moved beyond the point of empathy to action. You aren’t too small or insignificant to make a difference. Simply creating awareness, volunteering or supporting such an outreach can save someone from being enslaved to such a life. I learnt this today, I hope you can learn it too.


Be the first to receive updates on our activities.