The Unknown Children


Hwy A3 – Botswana – Google maps – 2012

Six-year-old Otilia cried herself to sleep every night for the past two weeks, ever since mother sold her to the man. The man took her and four other children in a truck, hiding them in big boxes. Now she was at her new home, the mansion of a rich man in Gaborone.

The maid gave her a bath and new clothes so she could meet him. He was sitting behind a desk in a big library when the maid took her in. Otilia stood in front of the desk. The maid left and closed the door.

He was a big man, and his voice was booming. “You look like you’ll make a fine domestic.”

Otilia was supposed to call him “Mr. Mlalazi,” but she was too scared to talk as he stood and walked toward her.

“First, your initiation, though.” He unzipped his trousers and cold fear gripped the child.

I wrote this for the What Pegman Saw writing challenge. The idea is to take a Google maps location and image and use them as the inspiration for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 150 words long. My word count is 150.

Today, the Pegman takes us to Botswana in Africa. Botswana is a big country with a long history, so I had to find a way to narrow things down a bit. I finally looked up current news stories and found one on child trafficking. As it turns out, human trafficking in Botswana is an enormous problem. All I had to do was read a few sentences and I had my story.

I called this story “the unknown children” because we hardly ever hear about this astonishing tragedy from western news agencies. Someone has to tell their story.

To read other tales based on the prompt, visit

24 thoughts on “The Unknown Children

    • I agree completely, but unless we actively search for such information, it never appears in our news feeds. Where’s the outrage for the untold number of children around the world who are daily victimized?

      Liked by 1 person

      • One may be easily overwhelmed and emotionally exhausted with outrage over the many ways in which human beings fall short of the glory that the Most High intended for them. In many cases it seems rather than fall they dive headlong into the muck, and revel in the successes of their selfishness. Their victims are not limited to the innocent and the vulnerable. And news coverage can very quickly immunize and numb the senses; hence it ceases to be “news”. Perhaps a better search for information would be to identify organizations which seek to repair some aspect of the world’s atrocities, to contribute to them in some manner thus to assist in their “tikun ha’olam”. Nonetheless it doesn’t hurt the effort, to apprise the unaware from time to time with a poignant photograph and factual short story, especially if they include information pointing toward how to improve lamentable situations.


    • It’s not like western news agencies don’t cover non-western countries, but this type of story almost always gets swept under the rug. Yes, people can be very dark and evil, which is why it’s so important to shine a light whenever we can.


    • Unfortunately, it “goes there” in real life and attending only to social issues that are convenient or popular in news and social media won’t help these invisible victims.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Even if she did, stabbing him and managing to escape, she’s hundreds of miles from home and she’s only six. Even if I rescued her as a fictional character, there are scores of children in real life who are still suffering.

      Liked by 1 person

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