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Hilma, 14, escaped from alcoholic parents in the coastal town of Swakopmund when she was 10 years old and came to Windhoek because she heard it was "a nice place".By the time she was 13 she was making "fast money", and at 14 had given birth to a child by a German tourist."Two years ago we began having sex with men for money - whites, blacks, Portuguese - mostly foreigners.We were scared at first but later we got used to it, because the money was all right and we could survive," he told IRIN. Martha, 14, looks her age, with a small body and a baby-like face."Before I get into their cars, we agree on a price.
I could not burden her anymore, as I wasn't the only child under her care," Martha said.
Although she admits her "job" is not safe and she risks contracting HIV, she only uses a condom when a client insists.
"But I have an HIV test after every three months to see if I am not sick, and the nurses don't ask me questions although I am only 14." Namibia is a low middle income country, but has a high income disparity as a consequence of the legacy of apartheid.
Many had run away from broken homes at a very young age, or had lived with grandparents after their parents had died or because they were alcoholics or unemployed, or both.
Most had had minimal education and saw prostitution as their only means of survival.