As TB, Aids and heroin abuse run rife, one girl, 16-year-old Princess Chea, told Daily Mirror.
“I’ve been sleeping here in the graveyard for five years.
“There is no other option, my parents both died after the civil war. There was nobody to protect or look after me.
It is safe in here, in the tombs, where nobody dare come to hurt us.”
Princess was just 10 when she first sold herself to old men on the streets of downtown Monrovia, who would pay her £1.40 for sex.With tears in her hollow, yellowing eyes, she said:
“I’ve been working as a prostitute for six years now. I am not happy at all, but I have nobody to turn to.
“Every day I sleep with up to 10 older men. I have been lucky never to have got pregnant – and I am not afraid of Aids because hopefully God will protect me.”
When Ebola ravaged the country, all she could do was carry on, and pray.
She added: “I smoke cocaine to take away the pain while praying every single day that I can one day leave my grave and perhaps even go to school.”
Princess, who shares her dug-out refuge with friend Joshua Williams, 17, is one of the many underage girls in Monrovia who “cut jopu”, or hustle on the side of the street for goods or money.
Another friend of Princess, emaciated Daniel Johnson, 12, feels he is lucky to have a place among the skeletons after Ebola wiped out his close family last year.
Soccer-mad Daniel said: “I feel safe here with the spirits to watch over me. We have nobody else, and nothing else.”
UK charity Street Child is supporting children like Princess, helping them to seek counselling and education.
Source: Daily Mirror