We do a lot of work with at-risk teens. We work with them, body, mind and soul, to put them in touch with their unique value as individuals and with the reserve of power waiting for them to tap like an oil field just below the surface. Bright, intelligent Ethiopian teens. Young women with suspicious eyes, lips tightly pressed into mocking smiles. Innocent wild-eyed 12 year-olds standing on the threshold between girlhood and womanhood.
Smoke-stained 18 and 19 year-olds, skin yellowed by too many cigarettes and too many wasted opportunities. I have worked with them them all. Every one precious, every one on the edge of… what?
Yes, these teens are “at-risk” but so are we as a society. We are at-risk of losing the energy, enthusiasm, freshness and love that these young women could learn to infuse into our society. Every “at-risk” girl, is a dysfunctional family waiting to happen… or an empowered woman waiting to blossom.
The choice is ours.
Witness this harrowing story of young teens in Haifa trying to get out of the snare of drugs and indecency into which they have fallen.
12 Year-Old Girls Sell Their Bodies For Drugs
Dozens of young teens in Haifa allow older men to touch them in exchange for money, cigarettes, alcohol, hashish, even for a serving of falafel…
In Haifa’s Hadar neighborhood there are dozens like them: They wander around the streets day and night, passing the time smoking cigarettes and hashish, sniffing gas from air conditioners and drinking alcohol that older men give them in exchange for sexual contact and “mutual enjoyment”. They are children, only 12, 13 or 14 years old
The cold calculation with which they describe how they spend the long days of their summer vacation is hair-raising…
“It’s very easy to get drugs in our neighborhood,” T, age 13, says. How can we keep busy during summer vacation when their are no summer activities and no entertainment”. From boredom they start with hashish. The girls here are willing to do anything for drugs, including sleeping with men…
The Girls Are Easy Prey
A few days ago, several of these girls came to the offices of the non-profit organization, Yad Ezer L’Chaver, located in the heart of the neighborhood. “Please put us in your summer program. None of us have anything to do but “get wasted” they said to the head of the organization, Shimon Sabag. “Yesterday, also there were girls sitting with us. They are waiting for our organization to open another session of activities in mid-August. …
“These girls sat in my office telling me things I couldn’t digest, “explained Sabag. “These men are criminals. They see these girls as easy prey. The first hashish cigarette is free. After that, for touching their bodies and from there, to the most awful things.”
Excerpts from NRG/Maariv On-Line: Eli Levi & Yonatan Hilleli