In 2010, Beautiful Dream Society began working to fight human trafficking in Lesotho, Africa after Jennifer Crow had a dream about the country. Our programs there help prevent human trafficking by reaching out to protect Lesotho’s youth and spreading awareness of how to avoid traffickers’ recruiting tactics.
Hope House Lesotho
BDS has operated a Lesotho Government approved, 24-hour, crisis care shelter for victims of human trafficking in Maseru, Lesotho where vulnerable women have been referred by law enforcement, community, and healthcare agencies. This shelter has operated since April of 2011-2015 and then 2016 to the present. In the shelter, women and their children not only have access to their basic needs of shelter, food, and clothing, but also medical care and mental health care in a loving family environment managed by trained staff and trained volunteer staff. Women typically stay in this crisis care facility from a week to several months. It is where they begin to heal from their trauma and to be assisted with a transition plan to resume a healthy, fulfilling life beyond their time in the BDS Hope House.
Fourteen-year-old Lintle* was brought to the BDS Hope House by the Lesotho Office of Immigration after she was able to escape from her captor. Lintle was kidnapped from her village and taken to a location where she was repeatedly raped and held against her will. When the kidnapper’s family was made aware of the situation, they contacted Lintle’s parents who accepted an amount of money in exchange for the wrongs perpetrated against Lintle. Although illegal in Lesotho today, ancient customs allow a negotiation or fee called Lebola to be paid in exchange for a kidnapped girl. Treated more like a possession or animal than a human, under tribal customs, the girl becomes the wife of the man who pays the equivalent value of 26 cows to a woman’s family. There are no known statistics for forced marriages in Lesotho, but it happens. BDS has helped several women and girls over the years who have been exposed to this trauma. Unfortunately this is what happened to Lintle. This type of human slavery of an underaged girl is technically illegal in Lesotho, but is culturally acceptable in some places. Fortunately, Lintle began to heal in the BDS Crisis Care Shelter and was then able to be placed in a loving family environment at the BDS Love House. Lintle’s desire is to finish her schooling, and live her teenage years free to pursue her hopes and dreams. Thanks to the generosity of our partners, Lintle has begun attending the BDS school to resume her education. Lintle is excelling in her new school as she feels loved, protected, and has the hope of a better life.
* Name changed to protect privacy
When women like Lintle arrive at the Hope House, BDS offers comprehensive, trauma-informed crisis services such as:
- Medical and dental care
- Trauma-informed emotional support and mental health counseling
- Retrieval of identification documents and language interpretation when necessary
- Art therapy and recovery programs
- Skills training and job placement
- Education and financial aid assistance
Beautiful Dream Society’s Hope House operates in partnership with the government of Lesotho and is certified by the Lesotho Department of Social Welfare
Childcare and Education Program
Khotso House and Love House for orphaned children
When Fifi arrived at Khotso House, she had to be hooked up to a breathing machine. Coming out of a family home that was detrimental to her well-being, this little girl needed care for some significant health problems. Not only did she need medical help, she needed love and affirmation. Today she is full of life, joy, and energy! She is eager to learn and fills the room with her smile. Learning and thriving in loving community with Beautiful Dream Society staff and the other children, Fifi’s future looks more hopeful than ever.
BDS Lesotho currently has official guardianship and cares full-time for eleven children, from ages 4-14. The children have lost their parents, in large part, due to Lesotho’s AIDS epidemic. Many of them have suffered terrible abuse at an incredibly young age, often arriving with severe wounds or serious medical conditions.
At Khotso House, BDS meets children’s physical, medical, relational, and educational needs. BDS provides a place of safety where the children can sleep in security, receive medical care, and thrive in healthy relationships with staff, house moms, and each other.
Children also receive a personalized education in BDS’ private school. Teachers in our program tailor lessons to accommodate each child’s level of education when they arrive. Children learn how to read and develop a love for books. They study a variety of subjects, including math and English.
BDS is working to expand the program and build a Children’s Village. With over 150,000 orphans in Lesotho, we hope to help many, many more children!
Training and Awareness
Since 2010, BDS has brought training and awareness about human trafficking to thousands of people – especially children – all around the country of Lesotho.
BDS spearheaded a widespread public awareness campaign with long lasting and far reaching results. Partnering with Victory Church Maseru’s youth group, BDS placed stickers on taxis and buses to warn passengers of traffickers’ common tactics. We also conducted trafficking prevention events specficially geared toward children in all ten Lesotho districts.