It all began with a simple prayer in a women’s fellowship. Now Annette and her team are tackling the blight of prostitution and the sexual exploitation of children in Uganda.
If you live in Kampala, Uganda’s capital, it’s hard to miss the city’s prostitutes. ‘I’d always driven around the city and seen them but, somehow, they felt detached from us,’ remembers Annette Kirabira.
Annette is the executive director of Rahab Uganda, an NGO dedicated to helping girls and young women affected by prostitution and human trafficking. ‘Back then, they were nameless and faceless to us.’
When I ask how the women and girls came to mean so much more, Annette answers ‘I like to say we prayed a dangerous prayer.’
That prayer was offered up at a women’s prayer fellowship in 2005. ‘We were praying, “Lord, what exactly would you want us to do in our city?”’ The answer didn’t take long to materialise…
Two daughters of a fellowship member experienced a disturbing scene one night in the capital.
‘They heard screaming and they set off to find out what was happening. A girl was thrown out of a moving car, but her dress got trapped by the door. She was dragged on the tarmac on her back. When the men in the car realised this, they opened the car door again, dropped her onto the road, and drove off.’
The girl was from Burundi, as were the two daughters, allowing them to talk. The girl had come to Uganda, having been told that prostitution was lucrative there.
The two daughters called their mother and, together, they took the girl to the nearest hospital. The women from the fellowship befriended her with food and support. However, there was a tragic twist to the tale.
‘The girl had two pimps, so after two days they abducted her from the hospital and we didn’t see her again,’ says Annette.