The Unknown Children

botswana

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 InLinkz.com.

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First Flight

 

Salerno

© Pacific Press/LightRocket/LightRocket via Getty Images – The bodies of 26 young migrants arrive at the Italian port town of Salerno on Sunday (5 November 2017).

The Present – Salerno, Italy

The young Japanese woman looked as if she were just another curious spectator in the crowd watching the corpses being offloaded from the vessel sent to retrieve them from the Mediterranean Sea. Mikiko Jahn felt the tears welling up behind her eyes and almost overwhelming grief and anger like a weight in the center of her chest before the neural circuitry in her brain suppressed those feelings and replaced them with an impassive calm.

Well, it was mostly impassive. The residual emotions she experienced moments before remained, but they were well contained. How had she come to this?

Two Weeks Ago – The Project – An Unknown Location in Japan

“He’s called the ‘Shadow Man’ for the simple reason that his true identity is not known. What is known about him is that he is a British national and one of the leaders of a cartel that siphons refugees, mostly young women and children attempting to reach Europe from Libya, from sanctuary into sexual slavery. We estimate that as many as twenty to thirty percent of these victims are currently in the UK with the rest distributed in Europe, Russia, and Asia.”

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