There are an estimated 1,045,000 people living in conditions of modern slavery in the Democratic Republic of Congo (GSI 2018). In 2017, several armed groups abducted and forcibly recruited Congolese men, women, and children as combatants and in support roles, such as guards, porters, cleaners, cooks, messengers, spies, and tax collectors at mining sites; women and girls were forced to marry or serve as sex slaves for members of some armed groups. Some Congolese women and girls subjected to forced marriage are highly vulnerable to domestic servitude or sex trafficking. Congolese women and children migrate to other countries in Africa, the Middle East, and Europe, where some are exploited in sex trafficking, domestic servitude, or forced labor in agriculture and diamond mines.
Salama was 15 when she became pregnant and was forced to marry the father of her child.
They made us get married, even though he had cheated on me and he had no home and no job.
After our baby was born things were really difficult. We had to ask our parents for money. Sometimes I didn’t eat because my mother-in-law didn’t want to help me, and I couldn’t afford medical care when I was ill.
WEC went to my parents and tried to convince them to let me go home. It turned out that my mother had been listening to their [radio] programme about the consequences of child marriage. Because of that, they welcomed me back home.
Narrative provided by Girls Not Brides