Last year we started the Freedom Line, the country’s first hotline specifically for adolescent girls and their families. It was in response to the threats caused by COVID-19 and meant for girls who were in immediate danger of something or someone.

This week, we received a call from Raksa’s mother. It is just her and Raksa in the house now that her husband has left. She has no money to buy food and suffers from a chronic health issue. Her rental flat costs $50 per month plus utilities, but her income as a cleaner at a clinic brings in the exact same amount ($50 per month). She is trying to find work doing laundry for others.

They sometimes eat three meals a day, but it’s often just rice. She feels trapped and worried that she will need to ask her daughter to find work. But if her 13 year-old daughter tries to find work, it will most likely lead to exploitation.

This is why the Freedom Line exists: to prevent a single moment of exploitation that could traumatise a girl for life.

Instead our team is delivering Raksa’s family an emergency relief package and she will be speaking with our case workers on how we can support her education and path forward so she never finds herself (or her future children) in this position.

Any identifying details have been removed for privacy and some wording has been slightly modified to better translate into English.

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