Red Light Child

Go!

A stranger

grabbed me at the bus stop

caught me at the station

took me across the border

met me at the airport

pushed me into a dark room

bought me my first lace bra and panties

Stop!

bought me my first lace bra and panties

Go

My parents

Ignored my begging and tears

married me off for the money

forced me to work in the factory

in the fields, in a foreign country

sold me for a false promise

eventually forgot all about me

Stop!

eventually forgot all about me

Go

My neighbour

told me to kept it secret

said I was so pretty he couldn’t help touching me

called his friends to join the party

offered me drugs and more money

drove me there and left me

said he’d be back in a week to fetch me

Stop!

said he’d be back in a week to fetch me

Go

A friendly woman

helped them track and catch me

shoved me into the car

showed me how to wear heels and make-up

gave me pills for the pain

a towel for the blood

said I would die if I didn’t shut up

Stop!

said I would die if I didn’t shut up

Go

The old man

explained he was making a movie

another stooed swaying above me

asked me to smile while he studied me

some held my mouth closed as they shoved into me

one dressed me up, took care of my bills

in the beginning I believed I was helping my family

Stop!

in the beginning I believed I was helping my family

I’m a Red Light child

I am not dead, I am lost

In another city, another country

I am not missing, Ive been stolen

I am not a number on a screen

Do you recognise me?

Will you remember my name?

 

I’m a Red Light child

Asking you to stop!

To listen, to question

To see, speak for me

Make the law to protect me

Take action to free me

Make it stop!

 

I’m a Red Light child

This is a game no-one should play

Each one of us

Is another one you lose

Make it stop!

Before another day

Another season begins

Make it stop!

Malika Ndlovu, 2009

Commissioned poem for the Western Cape launch of the 2010 Red Light Campaign against Child Trafficking

Advertisements

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: