They were sent to a shelter for safety. Instead, these women say they were sexually abused

she felt relieved. Sold by an uncle to her teacher, she was raped and..

The article opens up with a young girl – who goes by the pseudonym of Patricia – who was sold by her uncle to her teacher who would eventually rape her continuously before abandoning her at the age of 11. Patricia thought her luck had changed for the better when “police officers from a local station told her there was a man nearby who helped survivors of sexual abuse like her.” Patricia saw a “big, fat, old muzungu [*foreigner, particularly a white person]” by the name of Bery that she thought she could trust.
Bernhard (“Bery”) Glaser is a German national who founded Bery’s Place with his wife in 2006. The establishment serves as a rehab center or a shelter of sorts for young girls who were victims of sexual violence and other forms of abuse, as well as girls who had been “trafficked, abandoned, or rejected by their legal guardians”. CNN interviewed five women in their late teens and early twenties, including Patricia, who all allege that Bery sexually assaulted them and when they didn’t comply with his advances, he would threaten to kick them out into the streets, thus hindering these girls who had already suffered from different forms of trauma, abuse, and abandonment from speaking out.

“𝐴 π‘™π‘Žπ‘π‘˜ π‘œπ‘“ π‘”π‘œπ‘£π‘’π‘Ÿπ‘›π‘šπ‘’π‘›π‘‘ π‘œπ‘£π‘’π‘Ÿπ‘ π‘–π‘”β„Žπ‘‘ π‘π‘œπ‘šπ‘π‘–π‘›π‘’π‘‘ π‘€π‘–π‘‘β„Ž π‘Žπ‘› π‘œπ‘π‘’π‘›-π‘‘π‘œπ‘œπ‘Ÿ π‘π‘œπ‘™π‘–π‘π‘¦ π‘“π‘œπ‘Ÿ π‘“π‘œπ‘Ÿπ‘’π‘–π‘”π‘› π‘–π‘›π‘£π‘’π‘ π‘‘π‘œπ‘Ÿπ‘  π‘Žπ‘›π‘‘ π‘£π‘œπ‘™π‘’π‘›π‘‘π‘’π‘’π‘Ÿπ‘  β„Žπ‘Žπ‘  𝑙𝑒𝑓𝑑 π‘”π‘–π‘Ÿπ‘™π‘  π‘™π‘–π‘˜π‘’ π‘ƒπ‘Žπ‘‘π‘Ÿπ‘–π‘π‘–π‘Ž π‘£π‘’π‘™π‘›π‘’π‘Ÿπ‘Žπ‘π‘™π‘’ π‘‘π‘œ π‘Žπ‘π‘’π‘ π‘’.”

“π‘†π‘’π‘Ÿπ‘£π‘–π‘£π‘œπ‘Ÿπ‘  π‘€β„Žπ‘œ π‘ π‘π‘œπ‘˜π‘’ π‘€π‘–π‘‘β„Ž 𝐢𝑁𝑁 π‘ π‘Žπ‘–π‘‘ π‘‘β„Žπ‘’ π‘‘β„Žπ‘Ÿπ‘’π‘Žπ‘‘ π‘œπ‘“ π‘–π‘›π‘ π‘‘π‘Žπ‘π‘–π‘™π‘–π‘‘π‘¦ — 𝑏𝑒𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑙𝑒𝑓𝑑 β„Žπ‘œπ‘šπ‘’π‘™π‘’π‘ π‘ , π‘€π‘–π‘‘β„Žπ‘œπ‘’π‘‘ π‘šπ‘œπ‘›π‘’π‘¦ π‘“π‘œπ‘Ÿ π‘“π‘œπ‘œπ‘‘ π‘œπ‘Ÿ π‘ π‘β„Žπ‘œπ‘œπ‘™ 𝑓𝑒𝑒𝑠 — π‘€π‘Žπ‘  π‘€β„Žπ‘Žπ‘‘ π‘˜π‘’π‘π‘‘ π‘‘β„Žπ‘’π‘š π‘žπ‘’π‘–π‘’π‘‘ π‘“π‘œπ‘Ÿ π‘ π‘œ π‘™π‘œπ‘›π‘” π‘Žπ‘›π‘‘ 𝑒𝑣𝑒𝑛 π‘Ÿπ‘’π‘ π‘’π‘™π‘‘π‘’π‘‘ 𝑖𝑛 π‘ π‘œπ‘šπ‘’ π‘œπ‘“ π‘‘β„Žπ‘’π‘š 𝑑𝑒𝑓𝑒𝑛𝑑𝑖𝑛𝑔 πΊπ‘™π‘Žπ‘ π‘’π‘Ÿ π‘€β„Žπ‘’π‘› β„Žπ‘’ π‘€π‘Žπ‘  π‘“π‘–π‘Ÿπ‘ π‘‘ π‘Žπ‘Ÿπ‘Ÿπ‘’π‘ π‘‘π‘’π‘‘ 𝑖𝑛 2013.”

The “good” news is that Bery was detained last February after he turned himself in. He was charged with 19 counts of human trafficking, one count of operating an unauthorized children’s home, among other charges. The saddest part about this whole thing is that Bery’s Place is just one of the hundreds of homes said to be for vulnerable children that are operating illegally in Uganda. The article makes a point that I strongly agree with when they state that “a lack of government oversight combined with an open-door policy for foreign investors and volunteers has left girls like Patricia vulnerable to abuse.” Bery took advantage of the Ugandan political system by bribing local officials and of the young girls that he claimed to be saving by further perpetuating abuse. “When you see a white person here you think they’re coming with the biggest opportunities, so people like Bery Glaser are able to use their privilege to oppress and exploit our people,” says Olivia Alaso, co-founder of No White Saviors, which has helped provide safe accommodation and psychosocial support for girls who lived at Bery’s Place. “The government should be doing thorough and proper checks on their backgrounds at home [before granting visas], and also the work these people are doing in our communities.”

I shared this article because as global/ international affairs students and professionals, in whatever field we may find ourselves in the future or where we are currently working, we need to be mindful of our role in the world. We shouldn’t take advantage of the already disadvantaged, and we should pay attention to the warning signs, and if we ever get the chance to speak up on the behalf of others, we should. Children shouldn’t have to suffer at the hands of sick-minded adults who disguise their evil intentions. There is a lot to be done on the part of the governments of low-income countries and on those from the global North who want to take advantage of these broken, poorly constructed, or developing systems. It causes well-meaning organizations to lose their credibility, and more importantly, human lives should not be disregarded in that way.
McCool, Alice. (13 February 2020). “They were sent to a shelter for safety. Instead, these women say they were sexually abused.”