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“For us, every day is a day of struggle in the fight for justice”

Every girl has the right to a life of dignity, protected from sexual exploitation and all forms of violence.

But that isn’t a right that’s guaranteed for the girls of the BR-116, where every ten miles children are sold for sex. The reality for these girls is of high risk and vulnerability. 

Their families suffer from lack of opportunities, trying to survive on the little they get from government programmes. That is why many girls become ‘bargaining chips’ so their families have something to eat. 

On the streets, at gas stations, in isolated communities without access by police authorities, the common perception is of general chaos with girls pleading for help. 

Who cares? We do! We see their suffering and hear their cries for help. For us in the Justice Team, every day is a day of struggle in the fight for justice, as we defend girls from all forms of violence, especially sexual exploitation. 

Sadly the local authority structures which are meant to protect children have shown themselves to be ineffective, with cases shelved or forgotten and even arrest warrants against convicted aggressors left unserved.

That’s why the Justice Team’s work is important. We provide legal support to girls who otherwise have no other recourse, showing society they have the same rights as anyone else by pursuing aggressors and abusers through the courts. 

This year we have already had a number of successes, including a serious case in Medina of a girl who was being sexually exploited by a group of men using threats and violence, which has now been brought to trial. In Catují, we have used legal channels to force local authorities to protect a young girl in extreme danger whose rights had consistently been denied.

Our role within society is also to inform and educate, encouraging people to join us in defending girls, so that together we can end child sexual exploitation, impunity and all forms of injustice.