Shalom House: A haven for survivors of trafficking

SIM’s Shalom House is a recovery shelter and safe house for women who have been trafficked and prostituted in Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire.

Established in March 2020, Shalom House not only seeks to help victims recover and heal, but to provide a safe space where they can learn about Jesus and grow in faith.

Most of the women have been trafficked from Nigeria and Shalom House has partnered with a Nigerian organisation, Pathfinders Justice Initiative (PJI), which provides training and support to the women after they return home.

This reintegration process in Nigeria is critical – without it, these treasures* are at great risk of being re-trafficked and exploited all over again,” explains SIM worker Hauwa*.

Currently, there are four women and their children, who are desperately in need of financial support. The ministry urgently needs to find £2,700 by  October 15, 2021, to help these rescued women and their children start a new life with their families back in Nigeria.

“This money not only provides counselling and emotional support, but seed money for each woman, so they can start a small business and be able to support their children and families – reducing their vulnerability to exploitation and protecting future generations,” adds Hauwa.

  • Treasures’ is a compassionate term used by our workers to describe a woman in prostitution or sexual exploitation.

Donate and help the faithful work of Shalom House that means the women can leave with skills to be able to earn a living and support their families after they return home.

Shalom House is Project # 95367

My story by Constance

‘My name is Constance*. I am 21 years’ old and I am a hairdresser. I have three children. My trafficker was my sister.

I’m from Nigeria and I used to have my own hairdressing salon. One day, one of my sisters (who is living in Cote D’Ivoire) told me that she had a hairdressing salon and I would make a lot more money hairdressing in Abidjan.

She begged me to sell everything in my salon and follow her. She promised me I would make a lot of money as a hairdresser in her salon, so I sold everything and gave her the money to pay for my transport fare.

When I eventually reached Abidjan, she took me to her house. When I asked her to take me to her salon, she told me to be patient. Later in the night, she gave me some clothes that were very short and see-through and told me to wear them so that I could go to work.

I was surprised and asked her what type of work I had to go for looking indecently dressed and at night? It was then that she told me that I was going out to work as a sex worker, and that I had to pay her 1million Francs (about £1,300) before I would be allowed to return to Nigeria.

I was very angry and told her I wouldn’t do the work but she forced me, and I had to start doing the work. I hated it so much. After a short while, I told her that I wouldn’t be able to do it any more, so she threw me out of her house and I was stranded in the street.

A lady came along and took me to a brothel.  When I got there, I refused to work as a sex worker and the landlord threw me out. At that point, I was determined never to work in prostitution and spent many days just wandering around and surviving on the little money that I had.

One day, I met someone who introduced me to the International Fellowship of Christians (IFC) and I was brought to the Shalom House.

I have been in the Shalom House for ten months. During this period, I have learnt how to forgive, how to endure, how to live in peace with others and I’ve learnt the word of God.

Since I do already have a business skill and have owned by own hairdressing salon in Benin City before I was trafficked, I will love for Shalom House to please help me restart my hairdressing business.’

*First names used for security reasons

By Kerry Allan

SIM’s anti-trafficking ministry For Freedom supports Shalom House with resources and training. Find out more and read how you can be our eyes and ears to stop exploitation.

Please pray

  • For protection for the women and workers at Shalom House.
  • For resources to continue this ministry.
  • For the millions of people enslaved and exploited around the world today, that the Lord will reveal himself as mighty to them in the middle of their deep suffering.

This was posted on 22 September 2021 in Anti-trafficking and Compassionate ministries and Ministry stories.

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