By Ashley Judd, PSI Global Ambassador
A woman will do whatever is needed to feed her family.
In a brothel in downtown Port Au Prince, you see just that. Twenty women, all of them mothers, were clustered in the front room. The cement walls were sparsely decorated with stenciled yellow stars.
With few options but with families counting on them, these women sell their bodies. They know it’s dangerous. They know the risks. But for them the alternative for their families – homelessness, hunger, hopelessness — is worse. PSI tries to keep them safe.
A PSI lab tech is in the room. She covers a table with gauze. She lays out gloves, testing kits for syphilis and HIV and a bio waste receptacle.
Nadege – who once sold her body, but found work through PSI as a health educator — walks to the center of the room. As she speaks, some women take turns getting their blood drawn.
Thank you for your past support of PSI’s work. You are the kind of person who understands why we must help these women live healthier lives and create better futures for their children. Make a tax-deductible donation to fund the efforts of PSI-trained health workers like Nadege. For a short time, your donation will be matched through a $200,000 challenge gift from PSI’s board of directors.
Fedeline, a quiet woman with a shy smile, comes here every morning. She rents her small room for $6 US a day and gets paid $5 per client.
She works to take care of her son Widney and pay for his education. But she admits that she’s terrified each time she sees a client. She says, “You don’t know if the guy is a good guy or a bad guy. You just have to do it.”
She’s also afraid of STIs like HIV. “If you don’t use a condom, you can get viruses. But we have Nadege. She comes and does the tests for us. She’s one of us.”
At PSI, we believe that every person deserves a chance to live a healthy life. We go into hot spots like brothels and provide HIV testing and counseling free of charge. Preventing illness among women like Fedeline is imperative to a healthy community.
Support this important work. For a short time, your donation will go twice as far through this generous challenge match.
Ashley Judd is a celebrated American actress and humanitarian. She became an ambassador for PSI in 2002 and served as a board member from 2004 to 2013.