“We shall never be the same again” are some of the words we sing whenever we meet as ASEC alumnae. This song is sung with meaning because the SLDI program has really helped us to see things differently.
I would have never known about human trafficking without attending a session prepared by our ASEC Coordinator in Malawi last year.
In the newspaper last year there was an advertisement about employment opportunity in Kuwait. When my niece read the advertisement, she was excited about the opportunity, especially because her salary here in Malawi was so low in comparison to what she would be receiving in Kuwait.
When she was telling me about the job I remembered what I learned at our alumnae session about human trafficking. It surprised me how quickly they had her air tickets ready. I tried to convince her not to go, but my advice didn’t persuade her because
- There was a formal pronouncement by the government that it engaged foreign states to hire Malawian youth for employment.
- There were police documents available to attest that the cause was noble and true.
- It would be difficult to resist the large salary and the power of the media and newspapers.
But I felt human traffickers would take advantage of this pronouncement to fulfill their own sordid desires. It took only a week before my niece left for this new "job opportunity" in Kuwait.
The knowledge I learned through the human trafficking course helped to rescue my niece’s life. Upon her arrival in Kuwait the girls were sold to households and forced to hand in their passports. Since she still had her cell phone, we were able to communicate with her and through that my family helped her to escape.
Because of the knowledge I learned in the session, some girls, including my niece, have been rescued from this horrible fate. As I am writing this my niece is home safe. She is skin and bones and needs to regain her health, but she is safe.
Let us just open up our eyes and see, because it is not only Malawian girls who are trafficked. It’s a problem for many boys, men, and women throughout Africa.
Kuwait is a destination and transit country for men and women for forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation. Men and women migrate willingly to work as domestic servants or low-skilled laborers. Upon arrival, however, some are subsequently subjected to conditions of forced labor, such as restrictions on movement, unlawful withholding of passports, non-payment of wages, threats, and physical or sexual abuse. In addition, some women are forced into commercial sexual exploitation; for example, some female domestic workers are forced into prostitution after running away from abusive employers or after being deceived with promises of jobs in different sectors. [Source: Wikipedia]