Christelle’s home village is Assahoun, in the southwest of Togo (Maritime Region). She is the eldest of five children and was in Standard Five at the Catholic Primary School when she left with traffickers on the long journey to Gabon.
"One day a woman named Yawa came to visit a woman in my village. The woman Yawa had spoken to came to see my mother. She tried to convince her to let me go to Gabon, saying I would be in good hands and she would not have to worry about my safety. I got interested.
We fed ourselves on sugar with cassava flour and akpan (steamedcorn dough). We took a boat from Cotonou. We spent seven days at sea. I suffered from sea sickness,throwing up everything I ate. When we reached Gabon some men with a canoe took me to a village built entirely on stilts in the water. There, a man put us on a bus to an unknown destination. On our arrival, another came to take us to Yawa. She had arrived in Gabon by plane. We were strictly instructed not to carry anything on us. I had only 100 F (18 cents) and some chewing sticks.
Her husband would come to the shop. He would squeeze my breast and my behind. I threatened to tell his wife, but did not do so because I was afraid. Finally, one night, he succeeded in raping me. I was pregnant. He wouldn’t accept his responsibility and I was sent away. I went to the Togolese embassy and recounted my plight and asked to be helped to return home.
Today, Christelle is back in her village with her parents. She is under apprenticeship to become a seamstress. Her training is being supported as part of a joint effort by Plan Togo and the Department for the Protection and Promotion of the Family and Children, and is financed by Plan Togo.