The story of trafficked women is a warning to other disadvantaged job seekers-a global problem

Kamikazi copy
The desperate kamikaze of work convinced her that an “agent” could help her find a job. Instead, she found herself working as a domestic worker in Kuwait without being paid. Photo: Aimable Twahirwa/IPS
  • Author: Aimable Twahirwa (Kigali, Rwanda)
  • International news agency

A former colleague of a food processing company where Kamikazi had worked introduced her “agent”. They assured her that she would find a decent job in the Middle East, but she hardly knew that her colleagues had sent her to the arms of human traffickers.

The next day, the 22-year-old lady found her agent holding her passport, and the agent told her to pay about $300 in facilitation payments.

“One day, I received a call from an agent who told me that I must travel to Kenya, where I will get a Kuwait visa,” Kamikazi told IPS.

On the border between Tanzania and Kenya, the young woman met other members of the human trafficking syndicate. They helped her cross the border into Kenya inadvertently, and then took the road to Nairobi, the capital of Kenya.

In Nairobi, she and the “agents” hid the house together with several other young women of different African nationalities. Driven by fear and despair, she continued the tricks until the group finally boarded the plane to Kuwait.

“Someone told me that domestic workers from our region (East Africa) are more valued in Kuwait than domestic workers in other countries,” she said.

Kamikaze recalled her arrival. The traffickers took their passports and locked her in an apartment with some other young women.

“We trust them because I hope that new opportunities will help me improve my life,” she told IPS.

However, her hopes for a better future were soon dashed.

She was “employed” by a family-but found herself locked up and unpaid. If it suits them, her employer will exchange domestic workers between them.

“I don’t have any valid travel documents. I was treated as an animal that was traded by one family to another,” she said. To make matters worse, she realized that her former colleague, whom she believed to be a close friend, was responsible for her situation.

according to International Organization for Migration (IOM). In most countries in the Middle East, domestic workers are excluded from labor laws, which means they have no social, health or legal protection.

According to the report, the situation of domestic workers is particularly difficult, and their situation is even more vulnerable, because most countries do not have laws governing their employment. Because they are excluded from the labor law, no written employment contract is required.

Victims of human traffickers are often subjected to sexual exploitation, forced labor, enslavement, and may become victims of organ removal and sale.

The Rwanda Bureau of Investigation (RIB) warned that thousands of people have fallen victim to traffickers who portray themselves as recruiting agents. Disadvantaged young women seeking green pastures became the victims of these traffickers.

Latest estimate UN Women It shows that although it is challenging to obtain an accurate number of victims, the vast majority of trafficking victims found are women and girls, and three-quarters of trafficking is for sexual exploitation.

The recent cases of female servants being abused and beaten by employers in the Middle East have revealed the hidden and unsupervised situation of domestic workers.

In many cases, these women work illegally, which means that if their employer abuses them, they have little protection.

Kamikazi tearfully recalled her first few hours with the new employee.

“After confiscating my passport, I was told to stay at home (…) I was in a cage,” Kamikazi said.

A typical working day starts at 4 am and ends at midnight or later. There are no days off, and no going out unless I go somewhere with my family.

“In addition to cooking, cleaning, and washing clothes, I have to take care of my pets at home (…) I want to escape because I was abused by my employer, but I don’t know where to go,” she said.

However Rwanda Bureau of Investigation (RIB) The results of the investigation showed that most victims were intercepted at the exit-whether at the airport or at various border points in the country-and evidence suggests that in some cases, young women were trafficked to neighboring countries for commercial transportation. Transit station. Sexual exploitation in Gulf countries.

An investigation by the Rwandan law enforcement agency found that at least 47 members of the local syndicate had trafficked women from Rwanda to work abroad. As a result, according to the judicial report, in 2018, 49 people including company owners were arrested and prosecuted by the court.

This trend is on the rise, with 131 victims of trafficking identified in 2020, compared with 96 in 2019.

Like Kamikazi, most victims of human trafficking are tricked into leaving villages and towns and offering false promises of paid employment abroad.

Studies have proved that when the family economy is unstable, the vulnerability of children increases. Traffickers plunder these families through false promises of providing new jobs abroad, increasing income, improving living conditions and financial support.

Although Rwanda has enacted strict anti-trafficking laws, imposing a maximum of 15 years in prison for sex and labor trafficking, the Secretary-General of RIB convinced Nott Ruhonga that trafficking, especially women and children, is still facing serious challenges. Challenged by the international community.

The senior Rwandan police investigator pointed out that organized trafficking in human beings is a cross-border process. of. This is a global problem, but it seriously affects Central and East Africa.

“The most important thing is how all countries jointly deal with the challenges encountered in the process of investigating and prosecuting this cross-border crime, and strengthen cooperation and mutual assistance,” Luhongga said.

According to data from the General Directorate of Immigration and Immigration of Rwanda, most of the suspected victims of human trafficking found in Rwanda are from Burundi (62.7%), followed by the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) (15%) and Rwanda (13.6%).

Case data from the National Prosecutor’s Office shows that between 2016 and 2018, most offenders were men (63%), and women still accounted for a large proportion of human traffickers (37%).

Research conducted by the Rwanda NGO Never Again Rwanda in 2019 emphasized that effective management of national borders is a key component of curbing human trafficking because it has the effect of deterring criminals and identifying victims.

The study found that the main transit countries for trafficking in East Africa are Uganda, Kenya, and to a lesser extent Tanzania. Uganda ranked first, followed by Kenya and Tanzania, as trafficking destinations.

Dr. Joseph Ryarasa Nkurunziza, Executive Director Never again Rwanda, Told IPS that awareness and education are the key to combating human trafficking in Rwanda.

Nkurunziza said: “Considering that the pandemic has worsened the situation of many vulnerable groups, these groups are now more prone to human trafficking, so it is important to raise awareness.”

For Kamikaze, her ordeal is over. After being forced to work day and night and being held at the employer’s house, she was rescued after seeking help from a Kuwaiti businesswoman.

Her rescuers contacted the Rwandan embassy in Dubai.

“It seems that my employer does not want to return my passport, but the Kuwaiti police asked them to give it to me.”

* Kamikazi’s name has been changed to protect her identity.

This is part of a series of topics on human trafficking worldwide. IPS coverage is supported by Airways Aviation Group.

This Global Sustainability Network (GSN) The United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 8 is being pursued, with special emphasis on Goal 8.7, that is, “immediately take effective measures to eliminate forced labor, end modern slavery and human trafficking, and ensure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labor, including the recruitment and use of child soldiers. , To end all forms of child labor by 2025. GSN originated from the “Joint Statement of Religious Leaders” signed on December 2, 2014. Religious leaders of different faiths gathered together to work together “to defend the dignity and freedom of mankind and fight against extreme forms” The globalization is indifferent, such as exploitation, forced labor, prostitution, and human trafficking”.

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© Inter Press Service (2022) — All rights reservedOriginal source: International News Service