A Vision journalist got in touch with traffickers who smuggle people to work in the Middle East, on promises of high paying jobs. They smuggled her to Dubai with promises of a lucrative job. On arrival, she ended up in an agent’s holding cell. The story, which started last weekend, continues with the fall from hope to despair.
With permission and safety assurances from my bosses at New Vision, I venture into being trafficked into Dubai. We expect to find our employers waiting for us at the airport but, instead, we are rounded up by a dreadlocked man, who confiscates our passports before driving us into an apartment in town where Sara lives.
There, we are all ‘imprisoned’ in a small room by Sara, who tells us we belong to her. She gives us two options for our freedom: To pay back her 4,000 dirhams (the equivalent of about sh4m) she spent on our tickets and visa, or to wait and be sold to work so that she can recoup her investment.
We all do not have money. So, we brace for the worst: Slavery or sex work.
When reality dawns on us, we wail, curse and pray, until Sara, the agent, storms into our prison room and scolds us for what she calls a stupid drama.
“Shut up! You all belong to me! I decide what you do and what you don’t,” she says.
Girls explode in her face and almost beat her up. They all talk at once, asking different questions at ago that she cannot make out one to respond to. She gestures that we stop the noise and calm down. Her tough stance also changes to a calmer, negotiating voice.
She explains that she would get all of us work as maids and not sex work. And that we will all be paid sh1m monthly. After working for five months, we will pay her and redeem our passports.
That also attracts a violent response. “It is unfair to work for five months without pay,” the girls yelled. In despair, she offers us her phone to call our people to send money for our freedom. Some girls call their families to communicate our predicament, others call the people who connected them and abused them of defrauding them. While others call someone who knows Dubai and can help.
Read more at newvision.co.ug