Everything has changed, but nothing has changed for Becky Mensah. The broken and sagged life she once experienced in Ghana seem to have followed her like a bad habit.

At twenty-one, the cobwebs that seem to have entangled her life would take a 60-year life span to untangle. The slim, picturesque and congenial young woman found her way from Ghana to Tripoli in Libya through the help of an aunt who promised her a better life in Italy.  Unfortunately, for her, her aunt died two months ago in Tripoli and she has been left all alone in Libya with no money in hand to continue her journey to Italy.

Becky shook her head vivaciously, the wig she had fixed the previous day flung back and forth suavely, her body hugging t-shirt sat nicely on her well-toned body and her bomb-shorts paid credence to her straight, long and smooth legs. With her hands on her narrow waist and somewhat curvy hips, she flung herself sensually on the fully lit street, ready for business. The streetlights on wobi road shone on her well-pancaked face.  Prostitution had started all too soon for her. She never in her wildest imagination thought she could be involved in this. “If only my aunty was alive, I would never have done this,” she often said to herself naively. That thought would never have come to her mind if only she knew this was the very trade her late aunt intended for her in Italy. Her aunt never mentioned that to her. “One of my friends that have a big restaurant in Italy wants Becky to help with serving food,” she said to Becky’s elder sister Bima, who has been over burdened with fending for Becky since they lost their parents. Her five children were already enough burden for her Bricklayer husband who did not give a second thought when Bima asked if it was okay for Aunty to take Becky back to Italy. “Becky, Becky, Becky. How many times did I call you?” Bima put her right hand to her ear as she fixed her zealous gaze on Becky for a response.  A faint smile plasters Becky’s face as she awkwardly responds, “three times sister.” “Do not forget me and my children oh when you reach Italy…,” she continued in an excited tone. Becky broke into a deep laughter as they both talked about what would be the first item she would send back home.

But hey, here she is in Libya already making some money from the trade she loved to hate. Libya, Italy, what difference does it make? Hmm, I would say a lot. Apart from it being a legal trade, the men in Italy pay much higher. Ever wondered why you have so much prostitution in Italy, There you have it.

Sooner than later, she was beginning to enjoy the trade. In her first week, men that mostly came her way spoilt her silly after just an hour with them. Becks, as her small circle of newfound English speaking friends fondly call her, realized her continued stay in Tripoli could portend more harm than safety for her life. The reason for this was not farfetched; a clampdown against foreign nationals was brewing and Muhammad Gaddafi had no love lost for West Africans at the time.  Time to start arranging to leave Tripoli was now. She has been saving towards continuing her journey to Europe, but one thing stood in her way in actualizing this craggy dream.

On the 25th of March 2002, she escaped from the captivity of a Libyan entrepreneur who had subjugated her for over three weeks providing nothing other than sex to him. It was one of those breezy nights; she was relaxed, enjoying a vacuous talk with her girlfriends when a green Toyota Camry parked by their side and a middle-aged athletic man opened the door and strode out in style. A forceful sensuality radiated from his cool stare, as he got closer. He wasn’t confused for choice, Becky was all she needed in a woman.  

“His name is Usman Abdul, he should be in his forties but he was not married. He ordered his boys to always be on a lookout for me and trail me when I go out. Even when I went to the market, he made sure one of them followed me back and forth. He promised to give me all I ever wanted only if I continued to be his sex slave. The problem was that he is very violent and he often beats me up.” Becky shook her head wearily and her voice sounded cold as she narrated the life she lived in Libya to her lawyer who occasionally could not help to hold back the drop of tear that rolled down his chubby face. You could not help but notice the gap in Becky’s dentition; one of her tooth had gone off whilst she was been arrested.

Narrating that phase of her life made her shudder, fat contempt written all over her face.  “He would beat me up each night before he had sex with me. Sometimes he would inject me with drugs; the drugs I got so addicted to after just one week.” Tears trickled down her high cheekbones as she spoke. The melancholy mood had eaten deep into her and nothing seemed on the bright side for her.  “I do not know what drugs those were, but he injected himself as well. The drugs made me experience varied emotions most of which made me feel less of the pain. I always did see these horrid marks on my back the next morning,” she turns her back and lifts slightly her top to show her lawyer the darkened marks that looked like someone who has been beaten with a belt. “The bastard almost killed me one night from drug overdose.” Her voice rose angrily at the thought. Her pink T-shirt sat loosely on her frail shoulders as she continued the narration of her story to her lawyer who is now joined by a New York Times reporter that hot Saturday afternoon.

She had thought her life was taking an upward swing when she made it eventually to Italy, but alas, she was wrong.  “How did you escape from this man?” David Beckstar, the reporter asked her as he adjusted his recorder closer to her mouth. His eyes roamed involuntarily around the room, too uncomfortable to look straight into Becky’s eyes. Becky’s defense attorney, Cagliari Troy who is multi lingual had let David come in whilst he was discussing with his client. However, they had an arrangement that the story would not be published until next month after the trial must have been over and it must be thoroughly edited.    

She wiped the tears that had streaked down her face, drank another swallow of water and cranked her head downwards for a minute without saying a word; her gaze demurely tuned away to the ground. Her long, untidy, natural dark hairs flung unto her face, making David Beckstar stare at the beauty of the hair. After a while, she lifted her head and continued. “Usman and I were the only ones who stayed in the main building. His boys stayed in the boy’s quarter that was located just before you exit the gate. His boys were not used to watching me when he his around, so they let me get access to the gate without informing him.” She seemed a bit dingy in the eyes of her attorney as she continued in her narration, her voice becoming teary once again.

Usman’s house was elegantly built. The roof with its stylish tiles and its carved ridgepole pointing out over the view made passersby wonder how he makes so much money. The imposing and impressive exterior was a beauty to behold. Although she spent over two weeks in the building, Becky never got into all the rooms.

“The truth is; I drugged his wine with sleeping pills and he over slept while I came out. I had already given a few of my things to Jumal my friend the previous day when she visited and she had arranged for all the illegal travelling procedures. I moved out that evening with money stacked in my pockets and some drugs.  I could not take any other thing so the security guards would not suspect me. It has been something I have been planning for over one week now, so everything worked out as planned. I suppose, before they realized, I was far gone, off the coast of Libya.” 

I do need honest review, thanks.