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Bakul

There are an estimated 592,000 people living in modern slavery in Bangladesh (GSI 2018). Men, women and children are subjected to forced labour and sex trafficking. Bangladesh is host to more than 1 million undocumented Rohingya, including hundreds of thousands who fled Burma in previous decades. The Rohingya community’s stateless status and inability to work legally increases their vulnerability to human trafficking. Rohingya women and girls are reportedly recruited from refugee camps for domestic work and are instead subjected to sex trafficking. Within the country, Bangladeshi children and adults are subjected to sex trafficking, domestic servitude, and forced and bonded labour, in which traffickers exploit an initial debt assumed by a worker as part of the employment terms. Bakul was 15 years-old when she married Rony, a man 4 years older than her. His family and friends pressured her into marrying him. At 16 years-old she gave birth to her daughter Jui.

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Jane

There are an estimated 136,000 people living on conditions of modern slavery in the United Kingdom (Global Slavery Index 2018). According to the 2017 annual figures provided by the National Crime Agency, 5,145 potential victims of modern slavery were referred through the National Referral Mechanism in 2017, of whom 2,454 were female, 2688 were male and 3 were transgender, with 41% of all referrals being children at the time of exploitation. People are subjected to slavery in the UK in the form of domestic servitude, labour exploitation, organ harvesting and sexual exploitation, with the largest number of potential victims originating from Albania, China, Vietnam and Nigeria. This data however does not consider the unknown numbers of victims that are not reported.

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Marisol

There are an estimated 403,000 people living in conditions of modern slavery in the United States (GSI 2018). The US attracts migrants and refugees who are particularly at risk of vulnerability to human trafficking. Trafficking victims often responding to fraudulent offers of employment in the US migrate willingly and are subsequently subjected to conditions of involuntary servitude in industries such as forced labour and commercial sexual exploitation. Marisol Garcia Bejarano spent seventeen years in prison for a crime she did not commit. A survivor of human trafficking she was trafficked from Tijuana to California and was raped and beaten by her trafficker. Marisol witnessed a murder committed by the man who bought her for $200 when she was just thirteen years old. After years of holding her as his domestic servant and sexual slave, he then framed Marisol for his murder, and she went to a California prison for his crime.

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Juana

There are an estimated 403,000 people living in conditions of modern slavery in the United States (GSI 2018). The US attracts migrants and refugees who are particularly at risk of vulnerability to human trafficking. Trafficking victims often responding to fraudulent offers of employment in the US migrate willingly and are subsequently subjected to conditions of involuntary servitude in industries such as forced labour and commercial sexual exploitation.  Juana first travelled from the Philippines to Kuwait in 1985 where she was subjected to domestic slavery. Locked in her employer’s house and unable to communicate with her family. From here, Juana’s ex-husband’s sister helped her leave Kuwait and travel to the United States. Here she became a domestic worker where she suffered withholding of pay and unfair dismissal. With the help of a local grassroots organisations, Juana was able to win back her unpaid wages and now works with the organisation to help other domestic workers in the US.

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Bennu

There are an estimated 3.8 million people living in conditions of modern slavery in Chian (GSI 2018). Women and girls from South Asia, Southeast Asia and Africa are trafficked in to forced marriage in the country for fees of up to £30,000. The gender imbalance caused by the One Child Policy and the cultural preference for male children, has caused a shortage of women which has led to the trafficking of women to be sold as brides. As a result many women find themselves either deceived by promises of employment, sold or abducted and forced into marrying Chinese men who have paid for them. Kachin people are an ethnic minority who are predominantly Christian. Armed conflict between Myanmar military and the Kachin Independence Army has made life in the area difficult. This was exacerbated in 2011 with the end of a cease fire that left over 100,000 people internally displaced. In the camp where many of these people live there is little opportunity to earn a living. The government have made it worse by blocking aid to displaced people. This has led to women and girls becoming particularly vulnerable to trafficking as they search for jobs outside the country, often in China.  Bennu was living in a Kachin refugee camp when she was trafficked to China and forced to have a sexual relationship with a Chinese man. She was also forced to do all the housework. Bennu was able to escape with the help of a fellow Kachin man.

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Prudence

There are an estimated 6000 people living in conditions of modern slavery in Kuwait (GSI 2018). Men and women migrate from South and Southeast Asia, Egypt, the Middle East, and increasingly throughout Africa to work in Kuwait, predominantly in the domestic service, construction, hospitality, and sanitation sectors. The vast majority of migrant workers arrive voluntarily; however, upon arrival some sponsors subject migrants to forced labour, including through non-payment of wages, protracted working hours without rest, deprivation of food, threats, physical or sexual abuse, and restrictions on movement, such as confinement to the workplace and the withholding of passports. Many of the migrant workers arriving in Kuwait have paid exorbitant fees to labour recruiters in their home countries or are coerced into paying labour broker fees in Kuwait which, according to Kuwaiti law, should be paid by the employer—a practice making workers highly vulnerable to forced labour, including debt bondage. To a lesser extent, migrant women are also subjected to forced prostitution.  Prudence was offered a teaching job in Kuwait, making twice as much as she was making in Uganda. However, upon arrival her passport was confiscated and she was told to start cleaning. Prudence was subjected to verbal abuse daily, with other women working there suffering physical abuse. Though she wanted to leave, her employers told her she had to finish her contract. A contract she had not signed. Prudence’s luck changed one day when the family she worked with invited some friends to dinner who brought their own maid, also a Ugandan woman. Prudence told this woman about her abuse and was encouraged to get out. One morning while the family was sleeping, Prudence quietly left the house.

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Fainness

There are an estimated 403,000 people living in conditions of modern slavery in the United States (GSI 2018). The US attracts migrants and refugees who are particularly at risk of vulnerability to human trafficking. Trafficking victims often responding to fraudulent offers of employment in the US migrate willingly and are subsequently subjected to conditions of involuntary servitude in industries such as forced labour and commercial sexual exploitation.  Fainness started working for a diplomat in Malawi. Fainness states that while in Malawi everything was fine and there were ‘no red flags’. However, once she was taken to the US everything changed. Fainness was forced to work 16 hours a day, seven days a week and was paid less than 50 cents an hour. She was forced to sleep on the basement floor and wasn’t allowed to use the family’s soap or shampoo because she was told she would ‘contaminate’ them. Fainness was subjected to constant surveillance by her employer, who would tell her as a diplomat, she was immune from the law. After three years, Fainness was finally able to escape when her employer came home drunk and left the garage door open. Fainness’ friend took her to a lawyer and she was able to sue her employer, being awarded over $1 million in damages.

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Maryfe

Today women represent around half of the total population of international migrants worldwide. They move, more and more, as independent workers, usually to more developed countries in search of a better life for themselves and for their families. Reproducing patterns of gender inequality, at destination they tend to find work in traditionally female-dominated occupations such as domestic work. Their vulnerabilities are often linked to precarious recruitment processes (including passport and contract substitution as well as charging of excessive fees), the absence of adapted assistance and protection mechanisms, the social and cultural isolation they can face at the destination due to language and cultural differences, lack of advance and accurate information on terms and conditions of employment, absence of labour law coverage and/or enforcement in the country of destination, and restrictions on freedom of movement and association, among other things. Maryfe migrated from the Philippines to Hong Kong in the hopes of earning more money abroad to support her children. Maryfe took a job caring for her employer’s disabled child and bedridden father. She was subjected to violence and threats daily and eventually broke her contract to return to the Philippines. However, still needing to provide for her children, Maryfe travelled abroad again, this time to Dubai, taking a job as a nanny. Maryfe was forced to work long hours with little sleep and no time off. When the family she worked for moved to a different country she was forced to go with them. Though Maryfe was able to escape her employment, she is now stuck undocumented in a foreign country.  

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Marcela B

Today women represent around half of the total population of international migrants worldwide. They move, more and more, as independent workers, usually to more developed countries in search of a better life for themselves and for their families. Reproducing patterns of gender inequality, at destination they tend to find work in traditionally female-dominated occupations such as domestic work. Their vulnerabilities are often linked to precarious recruitment processes (including passport and contract substitution as well as charging of excessive fees), the absence of adapted assistance and protection mechanisms, the social and cultural isolation they can face at the destination due to language and cultural differences, lack of advance and accurate information on terms and conditions of employment, absence of labour law coverage and/or enforcement in the country of destination, and restrictions on freedom of movement and association, among other things. In May 2006 at the age of 52 Marcela B travelled to visit her daughter who was an irregular migrant worker to see her new grandchild. Travelling on a tourist visa she was able to stay for 3 months but unable to work. However, while there Marcela’s daughter faced the prospect of losing her job so Marcela agreed to step in and become a live-in domestic worker. For three years Marcela worked seven days a week, taking care of two small children as well as shopping, cooking, cleaning and ironing. She was unable to take time off she was ill and without papers felt she had little option but to keep on working. In 2009 Marcela was able to obtain a temporary residence permit and nor works 8 hours a day with regular breaks and time off.

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Sophie (Narrative 2)

There are an estimated 328,000 people living in conditions of slavery in Kenya (GSI 2018). Men, women and children are subjected to exploitation amounting to modern slavery in forced labour and sex trafficking. Children are often subjected to forced labour in domestic service, agriculture, fishing, cattle herding, street vending and begging. They are also victims of commercial sexual exploitation throughout the country, in khat cultivation areas, near gold mines and along the highway and Lake Victoria. Moreover, those residing in Kenya's largest refugee camp Dadaab are often vulnerable. Men and women are often lured by employment agencies offering attractive job opportunities, then find themselves trapped in domestic servitude, massage parlors and brothels or forced manual labour.    Sophie B went to live with her Uncle after her father lost his job. Rather than taking Sophie to school as he had promised, her Uncle forced her to work as a domestic in his house. She was forced to care for her cousins and do all the house work, being subjected to physical abuse daily. 

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Asma

There are an estimated 9000 people living in conditions of modern slavery in Oman (GSI 2018). It is is a transit and destination country for men and women primarily from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and the Philippines, most of whom migrate willingly as domestic servants or low-skilled workers in the country’s construction, agriculture and service sectors. Trafficked persons subsequently experience conditions of modern slavery such as the confiscation of passports, restrictions on movement, non-payment of wages, long working hours without rest and physical or sexual abuse.    Asma left her infant daughter in Tanzania in 2015 to work in Oman as a domestic worker. However, she found that her employers paid her far less than she expected and she was subjected to sexual abuse. 

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Dotto

There are an estimated 9000 people living in conditions of modern slavery in Oman (GSI 2018). It is is a transit and destination country for men and women primarily from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and the Philippines, most of whom migrate willingly as domestic servants or low-skilled workers in the country’s construction, agriculture and service sectors. Trafficked persons subsequently experience conditions of modern slavery such as the confiscation of passports, restrictions on movement, non-payment of wages, long working hours without rest and physical or sexual abuse.    Dotto left her family in Tanzania to go to Oman for domestic work, but upon arrival found herself facing abuse and exploitation.   

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Sophia

There are an estimated 336,000 people living in modern slavery in Tanzania (GSI 2018). Internal trafficking is more prevalent than transnational trafficking and characteristically facilitated by victims’ family members, friends, or intermediaries offering assistance with education or securing employment in urban areas. Impoverished children from the rural interior remain most vulnerable to trafficking. Girls are exploited in domestic servitude throughout the country and in sex trafficking particularly in tourist hubs and along the border with Kenya. Sophia was 14 years old when she became a domestic worker. Forced to work long hours with no rest, Sophia was subjected to verbal abuse and her pay was withheld. One day Sophia was finally able to leave her situation and contacted Agape, an organisation supported by Anti-Slavery International. Sophia is now rebuilding her life.

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Afrin Akhtar

There are an estimated 6000 people living in conditions of modern slavery in Kuwait (GSI 2018). Men and women migrate from South and Southeast Asia, Egypt, the Middle East, and increasingly throughout Africa to work in Kuwait, predominantly in the domestic service, construction, hospitality, and sanitation sectors. The vast majority of migrant workers arrive voluntarily; however, upon arrival some sponsors subject migrants to forced labour, including through non-payment of wages, protracted working hours without rest, deprivation of food, threats, physical or sexual abuse, and restrictions on movement, such as confinement to the workplace and the withholding of passports. Many of the migrant workers arriving in Kuwait have paid exorbitant fees to labour recruiters in their home countries or are coerced into paying labour broker fees in Kuwait which, according to Kuwaiti law, should be paid by the employer—a practice making workers highly vulnerable to forced labour, including debt bondage. To a lesser extent, migrant women are also subjected to forced prostitution. Afrin Akhtar travelled to Kuwait in 1996 looking for work, however upon arrival she was left at the airport for days until she was taken to work for an employer, being told money was being sent back to her family. After a month Afrin Akhtar ran away but was taken by police back to the ‘agency’ and she was again forced to work in people’s homes, receiving no money for her work.

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Hafeza

There are an estimated 3000 people living in conditions of modern slavery in Bahrain (GSI 2018). Men and women, primarily from Bangladesh, Pakistan, India and Philippines (among other countries) migrate voluntarily to work as semi-skilled or unskilled labourers in the construction of service industries. Some of these workers are subjected to forced labour, suffering conditions such as passport retention, confinement, non-payment of wages, and physical and sexual abuse. Those employed in domestic work are particularly vulnerable as they are only partially protected under Bahrain labour law, and cultural norms and existing legal infrastructure avert private home inspection.   Hafeza was 21 years old when she went to Bahrain to work as a maid to earn money for her family. Upon arrival Hafeza was subjected to physical abuse and after 3 months was forced to undertake sex work.  

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Morium

There are an estimated 6000 people living in conditions of modern slavery in Kuwait. Men and women migrate from South and Southeast Asia, Egypt, the Middle East, and increasingly throughout Africa to work in Kuwait, predominantly in the domestic service, construction, hospitality, and sanitation sectors. The vast majority of migrant workers arrive voluntarily; however, upon arrival some sponsors subject migrants to forced labour, including through non-payment of wages, protracted working hours without rest, deprivation of food, threats, physical or sexual abuse, and restrictions on movement, such as confinement to the workplace and the withholding of passports. Many of the migrant workers arriving in Kuwait have paid exorbitant fees to labour recruiters in their home countries or are coerced into paying labour broker fees in Kuwait which, according to Kuwaiti law, should be paid by the employer—a practice making workers highly vulnerable to forced labour, including debt bondage. To a lesser extent, migrant women are also subjected to forced prostitution.   Morium travelled to Kuwait in search of work to improve her situation. She arranged a visa through her neighbour’s father and migrated to work as a maid. Upon arrival, she was taken to her employer. As the only maid, Morium was forced to do everything, working long hours with no breaks, she was denied food and subjected to physical and sexual abuse. Morium was able to escape one day when the son of the family left the front door open, she was soon arrested and sent back to Bangladesh. 

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Champa

There are an estimated 3000 people living in conditions of modern slavery in Bahrain (GSI 2018). Men and women, primarily from Bangladesh, Pakistan, India and Philippines (among other countries) migrate voluntarily to work as semi-skilled or unskilled labourers in the construction of service industries. Some of these workers are subjected to forced labour, suffering conditions such as passport retention, confinement, non-payment of wages, and physical and sexual abuse. Those employed in domestic work are particularly vulnerable as they are only partially protected under Bahrain labour law, and cultural norms and existing legal infrastructure avert private home inspection.    Champa, a 30 year old woman and mother of 3 children went to Bahrain in 2000 to work as a maid. Though for a while everything was fine, after a couple of weeks the husabnd of the family began to come to her at night for sex. Once his wife found out, Champa was thrown out of the house, arrested accused of theft and spent 5 months in jail. Champa was not paid for her work and returned to Bangladesh with nothing.    

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Lydia

There are an estimated 403,000 people living in conditions of modern slavery in the United States (GSI 2018). The US attracts migrants and refugees who are particularly at risk of vulnerability to human trafficking. Trafficking victims often responding to fraudulent offers of employment in the US migrate willingly and are subsequently subjected to conditions of involuntary servitude in industries such as forced labour and commercial sexual exploitation.  Lydia Catina-Amaya was recruited as a missionary for a church in the Philippines and was brought to the United States under the auspices of helping the church raise money. She spent some years as a personal assistant for church members and then was given a position as a domestic worker for the director of the church. She ran away from a forced domestic labour situation, staying with friends in Chicago, where she met her husband. He later helped connect her with Damayan Migrant Workers Association, a grassroots migrant workers’ association in New York led by and for Filipina workers. When she told her story at the age of 46 in 2017, she was working as a community organizer with Damayan. The narrative also responds to a 2017 article in the Atlantic, "My Family's Slave," that told the story of Eudocia "Lola" Tomas Polido, a woman enslaved in the Philippines and then in the United States. 

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Judith

There are an estimated 403,000 people living in conditions of modern slavery in the United States (GSI 2018). The US attracts migrants and refugees who are particularly at risk of vulnerability to human trafficking. Trafficking victims often responding to fraudulent offers of employment in the US migrate willingly and are subsequently subjected to conditions of involuntary servitude in industries such as forced labour and commercial sexual exploitation.  Judith Dulaz left her family in the Philippines for the US in 2005. She began working as a domestic worker for a Japanese diplomat’s family in New York. She was promised $1800 per month, paid holidays and other benefits but, in reality, she worked up to 18 hours per day and received $500 per month. Judith provided full-time childcare and also was responsible for all the cooking and cleaning. Her employers held her passport and she was subject to physical abuse by her employers. Judith escaped in 2006 and later was connected with the Damayan Worker Cooperative through a friend. She recently reunited with her family, including her four children, in the US after ten years. She was 50 years old when she told her story in 2017. 

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Alina “Tibebe” Cajuste

It is estimated that there are 59,000 people living in conditions of modern slavery in Haiti (GSI 2018). The majority of Haiti’s trafficking cases involve children trapped in domestic servitude as restavèks. They are often physically abused, receive no pay and have significantly lower school enrolment rates. As a result of this, many children flee employer’s homes or abusive families, becoming street children. Moreover, female foreign nationals, especially from the Dominican Republic and Venezuela, are particularly vulnerable to sex trafficking and forced labour in Haiti. Other vulnerable groups include children in residential care centres, children working in construction, agriculture, fisheries, and street vending, along with internally displaced persons as a result of the 2010 Haitian earthquake.  Alina “Tibebe” Cajuste was given away as a child to live as a restavèk (a child in Haiti who is sent by their parents to work for a host household as a domestic servant because the parents lack the resources required to support the child). Alina was forced to work long hours with no breaks, no days off and subjected to physical abuse daily. One day Alina finally escaped, travelling to Darbonne to find her mother who told her about her father and why she was given away. Alina found her father and his family, however after his death she was not accepted by the family. Becoming so low, Alina states that it was only with the help of a women’s organisation that she was able to feel like she existed in society.