16-year-old Ella believed she would be on her way to a promising job opportunity. A neighbor persuaded her to accept a well-paying job in Kampala. She even gave Ella money and a phone and insisted on helping her get from their town to the city. As the eldest of 4 siblings, Ella felt that a good, reliable job would be a chance to help her family survive.
Ella’s neighbor came to pick her up very early in the morning. She insisted on holding on to the money and phone she had previously given Ella, for safekeeping until they got to the city. She then rushed Ella to her “transport,” waiting nearby. The neighbor handed Ella to two men on a motorcycle taxi, who forced her to inhale chloroform until she passed out.
She was sexually assaulted every day for seven days straight. They tied her down and confined her, even refusing to let her use the bathroom. At times, Ella would overhear the men arguing amongst themselves whether to kill her or just dump her by the road. They sedated her once more.
When Ella regained consciousness, she found herself in an unknown town. She was in horrific physical pain as a result of the gruesome sexual exploitation. A passerby came across Ella and helped her reach her parents, who had been on a frantic search for their daughter.
Suffering from extensive trauma, Ella was referred to EverFree’s aftercare shelter where she immediately received care, counseling, and legal aid.
Through months of court hearings, EverFree was with Ella through every step of the way. And thanks to Ella’s courageous testimony,
What’s more, she will be forced to pay Ella restitution. EverFree’s legal team has further hope that the investigation will lead to the identification and accountability for the nine men now on the run who had exploited and abused Ella.
Now, however, Ella is focusing on healing and continuing her education as she continues to receive follow-up care from EverFree. Upon winning her court case, Ella quoted Cornel West, saying,