"Love": saving young girls from prostitution in Freetown
By Linda Bordoni
“Love” is the name of a video, presented in Rome today, which documents the work of Salesian Missionaries in Sierra Leone and their project to rescue and assist girls who are exploited for prostitution in the capital Freetown.
The programme is geared especially to help young girls who find themselves on the streets and who are forced or lured into prostitution where they are used, abussed and discarded by adults, in the impoverished areas of Congo Water and Grafton in Sierra Leone’s capital Freetown.
The Don Bosco Fambul Center
Since the opening of the Don Bosco “Fambul Girl Shelter”, more than 120 girls have left the streets and many of them have reunited with their families, returning to school or vocational training.
As Salesian Father Jorge Crisafulli, director of the center explained, it offers the young women medical and psychological assistance oriented towards social reintegration, as well as accommodation, food, clothing, non-formal education, vocational training, and especially.. .love!
Father Crisafulli said he had been working in the streets of Freetown trying to reach out to impoverished street children when he realized there was a real need for a specific programme for young girls as so many of them found themselves embroiled in the prostitution network.
So, he explained, in 2016 the “Girl Shelter” was set up”
"They are only children"
”We realized immediately, when we contacted them, that they are children” he said.
Crisafulli described them as girls who “feel like children, think like children, behave like children, and so the streets and prostitution are definitely not for them.”
That is why, he continued, we created a shelter especially for them, a home that welcomes them and where they can find medical assistance and the possibility of going back to school or doing vocational training and resuming normal lives.
In particular, Crisafulli said, it is important for them to hear that they are not guilty or bad, and that there is a huge potential for good in their hearts.