1. Home
  2. Africa
  3. West Africa
  4. Sierra Leone

New Film: Sierra Leone's women behind bars

For film use : Women behind bars
(IRIN)

Twelve years after Sierra Leone’s long civil war came to an end, its broken institutions and weak development indicators continue to impact on the lives of its people.

And as ever it’s women who bear the brunt. Aside from the usual grim data, one statistic stands out: the number of female prisoners has doubled over the past three years.

IRIN’s latest film, Women Behind Bars, tries to understand why prison rates for women are soaring. It follows two paralegals, Victoria and Marvel (AKA Small Pepper) as they fight for the rights of women trapped in poverty, and a corrupt system that discriminates against them.

In a country of only 400 lawyers, Sierra Leone’s 80 paralegals have a crucial role to play in trying to deliver basic human rights. As we watch Victoria and Marvel at work, negotiating with police and prison authorities, advising and at times cajoling the women they have come to help, it becomes clear how daunting that task is.


This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

Share this article
Join the discussion

It was The New Humanitarian’s investigation with the Thomson Reuters Foundation that uncovered sexual abuse by aid workers during the Ebola response in the Democratic Republic of Congo and led the World Health Organization to launch an independent review and reform its practices.

This demonstrates the important impact that our journalism can have. 

But this won’t be the last case of aid worker sex abuse. This also won’t be the last time the aid sector has to ask itself difficult questions about why justice for victims of sexual abuse and exploitation has been sorely lacking. 

We’re already working on our next investigation, but reporting like this takes months, sometimes years, and can’t be done alone.

The support of our readers and donors helps keep our journalism free and accessible for all. Donations mean we can keep holding power in the aid sector accountable, and shine a light on similar abuses. 

Become a member today and support independent journalism

Become a member of The New Humanitarian

Support our journalism and become more involved in our community. Help us deliver informative, accessible, independent journalism that you can trust and provides accountability to the millions of people affected by crises worldwide.

Join