Be careful, Everyone.

It is wonderful what time does to the memory. Some things you think you have forgotten suddenly spring up out of nowhere, triggered by reading one story. For me it was the story of the University students promised good jobs in Kenya, only to find they were being kidnapped for forced prostitution. Under threat of murder.

(http://www.rnw.nl/africa/article/ugandan-university-students-forced-be-porn-actors-against-their-will)

Which led to me deciding to share my own story. While I don’t think I was going to be kidnapped and shipped off to another country, I do believe that what almost happened to me is how many young girls find themselves landing in all sorts of trouble. 

Here goes

I was in my second year of University at Makerere when a friend of mine told me about this guy who was looking for a university student for a job in Uganda National Medical Stores. Something about data entry. Would I be interested?

Hell, yeah. School bored me to death. I’d love to have a job on the side.

My radar first went up when the man didn’t want to meet at the offices or at an establishment in town. He wanted to meet in front of St. Francis Chapel in the University. In his car.

I was already a fool to agree to the meeting to begin with. But I was desperate (or so I thought).

I knew it was his car because he put his hand out the window as we spoke on the phone to direct me. He was parked right in front of the church. I stood outside and spoke to him through the window.

“Good morning, Sir”, I said politely, hesitantly. He was pudgy, and ugly, with a large nose and pimples all over his face. I’m sure I can still recognize him today.

“Oh, hello, hello, young girl!” he cried happily. “Get in, get in!”

“Why don’t we go to Club 5?” I suggested. It was a popular restaurant in the University.

“What, you don’t want the job?” he asked teasingly. “Get in!”

I opened the door and got in, but kept the door open. Every cell in my body was telling me to leave. I don’t know why I entered the car. 

“Why don’t you close the door?”, he said. “There’s enough air in this car”.

“No, thank you”, I said. “I’m not feeling well. I’d rather leave it open”.

He seemed to be at a loss for words. I could see that until then, I’d played according to some sort of script.

“Well, erm..so you want the job, eh?”

“Yes”

“You can use a computer?”

“Yes?”

“What exactly shall I have to do?” I asked him.

“Oh, nothing much, nothing much. We shall give you 700,000 shillings a month”.

In 2005, that was a fuck of a lot of money for a student. I relaxed a little bit, enticed by the thought.

“So…” he stroked my knee gently. “You think you shall be interested?”

That was it.

“Erm…I have to go”, I said. “Maybe we can meet at the office tomorrow and talk?”

“No, no”, he said. “Not at the office. You can come to the office when we have finalized everything”.

“Okay, fine”, I said quickly, desperate to get out of that car.

“I’ll give you a call tomorrow”, I lied.

“Eh, wait, wait!” he said. “Let me give you some transport”. He pulled out a 50,000 shilling note.

If I remember correctly, those notes were still relatively new and I was deeply alarmed at seeing it flashed before me in this obviously predatory manner.

“I’m in the University”, I told him. “I live here. I don’t need transport”.

“Well, you just take it”, he urged, holding my hand to place it in.

I pulled away and jumped out, closing the door behind me.

“No, thank you”, I said politely. “I’ll call you tomorrow”.

And, to put it simply, I run away. 

Morals, morals

Everyone everywhere needs to know that even 21 year olds (like I was then) can be stupid enough to enter the car of a total stranger. Hell, further down the posts here, you’ll read Tim’s story-a grown man who entered a car with five criminals he’d never met in his life just so they could rob him too. 

So I guess I’m just saying that reading that story of the University students lured by the promise of good jobs into forced prostitution under threat of murder, reminded me to remind everyone that we should always be careful. 

It can be any of us anyday. Especially when you ‘need money’. Common sense tends to fly out the window. 

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