More about Thuli's story

With the help of Red Light Hope has taken back control of her life – her identity is no longer stained by the past and her shame of her former life has been replaced with dignity and skills. Born into a difficult family situation in the impoverished area of Jozini, in KwaZulu-Natal, Hope (name changed) had the odds stacked against her from the beginning. She left for Durban to seek work but was soon unemployed, pregnant and hopelessly alone. Desperate to support her child she followed her friend to Durban’s red light district, the notorious Point Road, under the false pretence of an opportunity for a job at a hotel.

She [the friend] told me to sit on the side of the street and wait. After a short time she came back with money. A little while later a man came and she told me to go with him. I went with him and we had sex around the corner. When I came back she paid me.”

That was the one and only time Hope slept with a man for money. That same night she also met a group of Lifeline volunteers who offered her help in the form of free skills training and food for her family. Hope was then referred to Red Light for long-term assistance where she acquired crocheting, jewellery making, sewing and knitting skills, as well as counselling and emotional support.

We’re excited to announce that after four years of walking shoulder to shoulder with Hope she was released from the restoration programme in July 2016. She now runs her own sewing business that provides a relatively stable income. She wept as we celebrated her ‘release’ and her words will never leave us:

“God is so good, He never left me all this time… not once. So many things He has done for me. Wow… I am so happy all I can do is cry.”

We keep in touch with Hope and when asked if she needed to come for a cup of coffee and a catch up she said, “Yes, I would love to catch up but I am too qualified to receive help and food.”

Abuse of Vulnerability:

For purposes of section 4(1), means any abuse that leads a person to believe that he or she has no reasonable alternative but to submit to exploitation, and includes but is not limited to, taking advantage of the vulnerabilities of that person resulting from— (a) the person having entered or remained in the Republic illegally or without proper documentation; (b) pregnancy; (c) any disability of the person; (d) addiction to the use of any dependence-producing substance; (e) being a child; (f) social circumstances; or (g) economic circumstance (TIP 2013