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But two months ago she joined the lucky few to escape the horrors of prostitution. An attractive dark-haired, brown-eyed year-old, her arms are covered with scars and burn marks. There are more scars around her mouth. All are testimony to violent assaults by her pimps. She cannot remember a time when her father was around.
Then he began to touch me. It eventually became full-blown molestation. They took me to a hospital and found out I was telling the truth. She moved in with a friend in Effingham and was able to get a job on North Beach. Life was going great, but I decided to go home. I missed my grandmother because she was all I knew.
But then things started going wrong. This time I had no home or job. I had to live on the street. Several men offered to pay for her to live in a shelter. I was only 15 and I had no idea what that meant. This continued for five years and when she was 20 she fell pregnant with her first child. Her then boyfriend was a male prostitute who had left for Joburg. She decided after the birth to give up her son for adoption.
She soon took refuge in drugs and alcohol. I was drinking and just going with the flow. Then I fell in with other prostitutes who were being run by a group of pimps. They would beat us until we were bloody and threatened to kill us. Finally, a fearful Ruby managed to get away and find help at the Umgeni Community Empowerment Centre.
Ruby seemed to have turned her life around. She was off drugs and alcohol, had a stable job, and did volunteer work as a hairdresser and masseur. That was a big mistake. I had everything going for me and I threw it all away. In January this year she was staying with three other women when they were approached by two Nigerian men who wanted to take them to Joburg, and offered food, liquor, clothes and money.