Say You're One of Them Webcast Transcript
Oprah: That's why I called, you know, in this country where people called it child molestation, I say first it's child seduction. It's so easy to seduce and manipulate a child to think and do whatever you want them to do.
Oprah: Yeah. And that's the point of that story. CNN filed this next report for our book club from Lesotho where thousands of children are allegedly trafficked every year. It's the truth.
Nkepile Mabuse: Every day they cross the tracks into South Africa looking for work, food, money. They are Lesotho's poorest. Some are adults. Many are children. They are desperate and vulnerable.
Girl: My siblings and I were no longer attending school. We had no clothes, no food, we would get help from neighbors, but they grew too tired of helping and told me I was old enough to go find a job.
Nkepile: This girl is one of some 15,000 children in Lesotho who have been orphaned by AIDS. She says her parents died when she was 12, so she came to the capital, Maseru, to look for work. A white man promised her and a friend domestic work in South Africa. They crossed the border with him illegally.
Girl: When we arrived at this man's house, we were hoping to start working. But that didn't happen. Two more men arrived to pick up my friend saying she is going to work for them, and I had to stay with the man who had picked us up.
Nkepile: For the next three days she says the man repeatedly raped her at night and locked her in the house during the day.
Girl: I tried to stop him, but he overpowered me. He would lift my legs and even strangle me while he was raping me.
Nkepile: She managed to escape on the third day when the door was left unlocked. And as for her friend?
Girl: I never saw my friend again. I don't know whether she is dead or alive.
Nkepile: When she returned, she lived in this refuge for a while, but her attackers, thought still to be at large, perhaps preying on other children from Lesotho. The UN says Lesotho has no anti-trafficking law and prosecutions are rare. Traffickers from as far away as China and Nigeria come to Lesotho because their victims are cheap. This girl is speaking out to try to protect others.
Girl: I really don't want other children to go through what I've been through because really it was painful. I even thought of killing myself. I just didn't know how.
Nkepile: Nkepile Mabuse, CNN, Maseru Lesotho.
Oprah: Thanks again, CNN. All too real.
Uwem: Yeah. I did not even know this was happening in Lesotho when I wrote this. So I can only imagine what those children must be going through.
Oprah: We have 15-year-old Sam from Washington State on Skype. Sam, thanks for joining us. Hi.
Uwem: Hello, Sam.
Oprah: Sam, you read the book?
Sam: Yes. And I have some, I have a question.
Oprah: Okay, go ahead.
Sam: So when I was reading these stories, I could not believe that these kids were only a few years younger than me. And as a 15-year-old, it's quite a shame that teens my age don't read these kind of stories. So what kind of message were you trying to convey to kids of my age with these stories?
Uwem: What I would say to you is forgive the people of your family. People in your family. Your friends. Make peace with your neighbors. Study very hard. The opportunities you have in this country, make use of them. Try and be a good person. And be concerned about what is happening in other parts of the world. Because, you know, globalization, worlds without borders. But it's very important, you know, that you love the people you live with and forgive them many times a day. Be there for them. It's not always, let's go and help the African, you know?
Many kids are hurting in these United States of America. Look at your classmates. Some of them have a lot of issues at home and they are bitter. Though the opportunities are there, you know, they can't forgive. They don't feel connected, you know? So look around you and see what you can do, you know, in your neighborhood. That's what I would say to you, Sam. And thank you very much for reading my book.
Sam: Thank you very much.
Oprah: Thank you, Sam. I think that's so great that he's read the book. Every story. You know what is interesting about what you said, because I know there are so many people who read, and I think it's wonderful that you read these stories or you hear a story about what's going on in a developing country, Africa in particular, huge continent where there is a lot of beauty and a lot of wonderful things, but also a lot of challenges.And people want to know, what can I do? What can I do? But what you just said is the real deal. Is, you know, these stories should open up a space in your heart so that with your neighbor, with your friend, with your child, with your boss, with your sister-in-law, with your cousin you can find a place for forgiveness, find a way to peace, find a way to be more gracious and give more of your heart to the people in your life.