By Judith Nasenya & Markson Omagor
Last week, a BBC investigative video went viral showing how in actual sense most African girls are traded in Arab countries as slaves.
It is important to note that many of these girls including Ugandan University graduate girls are trafficked to Arab countries in the guise of lucrative domestic jobs. However, the trend has been that what happens the moment they reach the Arab countries is a far cry from their expectations.
In the video, a team of BBC investigative journalists uncovered what they called ‘online slave market’. The girls that apparently work as domestic have actually been sold online through Apps provided by Google and Apple.
The team discovered that these modern day slave traders use the Apps to sell African girls along other commodities like TVs and cars. The team identified 57 users of these Apps selling domestic workers online for thousands of dollars usually 3000 dollars to 5000 dollars.
Unfortunately most of these girls have no knowledge that they are being advertised online and sold as slaves. These App users are violating national and international law on human rights because there actions are indicative of forced labor and human slavery. They were also denying domestic workers their basic human rights.
It is not the only app being used to sell women online. The BBC also found 100 of domestic workers for sell on facebook and histogram.
The undercover team arranged to meet one of the people who sell the girls and one of them happened to be a police officer and when they met him he narrated to them how he managed to keep the girl hostage.
“When we buy these girls, we immediately confiscate their passports and remove phones away from them, as for this one, I have locked her passport in a safe,” the police officer told the team unaware that they were journalists.
Another case that the BBC team investigated through an app, was when they found an advertisement of a 16 year old girl on sale. The team contacted the person who placed the advertisement in the app and they were directed to her residence. On their arrival in the home they found an old woman who requested for $3000 to sell the little girl.
Having watched the BBC Video, eastnews.co.ug contacted a number of girls working and living in Arab countries to give the Ugandan story.
Sarah whose second name we cannot disclose here gave us a firsthand narrative:
Sarah told this website that girls are taken using agents in different countries and these agents also have helpers in differently villages.
These agents are in charge of the amount the girl will be sold at but before, there are some conditions put like if the girl has a passport they pay you a different amount of money compared to one with no passport.
These village agents move to different homes in the villages convincing parents with exciting words including promises of big earnings. Such promises entice parents to sell their property to pay to the agents because they usually ask for money to facilitate the girl’s movement abroad.
After that they will communicate to their fellow agents abroad who are responsible for the girls’ visa cards which will take them to different countries.
On their arrival these agents will communicate to the people who want to buy and get in touch with them. The girls are then taken to the respective accommodation Centers. “Accommodation Centers are usually squalid houses where over 50 girls are cramped in a small space” with no proper amenities.
The agents will proceed to their offices and start contacting different buyers who are willing to buy the girls.
When they get a person to buy you, u are picked up and the buyer makes a choice, if he/she likes you, then you are sold without your knowledge. The girl will be thinking she has got a job yet in actual sense she has been sold. If the buyer is not impressed either because you are ugly or whatever, the buyer is allowed to make another choice.
The dealers are usually paid in full for whatever they will have agreed on.
The dealers then process a working visa but after that your identity is kept away from you.
The problem usually starts when the girl is being mistreated and starts demanding to go back to office or asks for salary, that’s the time the young girl will be informed that she is a bought property.
“Most of these girls are then mistreated because the Agents will not want them to leave their Masters because they have already pocketed the money,” Sarah told this website.
When the girl persists, the Agents are then forced to find a replacement as the stubborn one is either mistreated or killed. Or they are paid less than a quarter of what they should have earned because the Masters know you are their property.
“These slave girls suffer a lot; sometimes they are beaten or killed for just looking at a woman’s husband,” Sarah revealed.
In worse situations, the girls’ internal organs like kidneys are removed from them in the pretense that you are being treated.
“So ideally, the girls do not even realize that some of their body parts have been removed for those who are lucky not to be killed in the process,” Sarah ended her narrative.
The increase in human traffickers is attributed to the high demands and conditions put in place by registered companies.