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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. 

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Thandi

It is estimated that there are over 9.2 million people living in conditions of modern slavery across Africa (GSI 2018). When considering forms of modern slavery, the rate of forced marriage (4.8 victims per 1000 people) was higher than the rate of forced labour (2.8 victims per 1000 people). Over half og all victims of forced labour were held in debt bondate, with similar proportions of men and women in the region trapped through dept. An estimated 400,000 people in Africa were victims of forced sexual exploitation. Within the region, Eritrea, Burundi, and Central African Republic were the countries with the highest prevalence of modern slavery; however, Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo had the highest absolute number and accounted for over one-quarter (26.3 percent) of all victims in the region.Thandi travelled abroad for what she thought was a decent job. However, upon arrival, her passport was taken and she was forced in to domestic servitude for 4 years.

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Duyen

The Global Slavery Index 2018 estimates that on any given day in 2016 there were over 3.8 million people living in conditions of modern slavery in China. Included in the types of slavery prevalent in China is forced labour, with China's unprecedented rise to the world's second largest economy and its domestic economy specialising in the production of labour-intensive, cheap goods for export, increasing the demand for cheap labour. Forced labour occurs in both the manufacturing and construction sectors, as well as more informal industries such as brick kilns and garment facoties. Many women are also tricked in to forced labour as domestic servants, lured by the promise of good jobs with high incomes they instead find themselves confined to the house and forced to work long hours with little or no pay.Duyan was told she would just be visiting China when she was sold to a Chinese family to be their made. Duyan was finally able to escape and reported her trafficker to the police.

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Sian Men

The Global Slavery Index 2018 estimates that on any given day in 2016 there were over 3.8 million people living in conditions of modern slavery in China. Included in the types of slavery prevalent in China is forced labour, with China's unprecedented rise to the world's second largest economy and its domestic economy specialising in the production of labour-intensive, cheap goods for export, increasing the demand for cheap labour. Forced labour occurs in both the manufacturing and construction sectors, as well as more informal industries such as brick kilns and garment facoties. Many women are also tricked in to forced labour as domestic servants, lured by the promise of good jobs with high incomes they instead find themselves confined to the house and forced to work long hours with little or no pay.  Sian Men Mawi legally worked as a maid in Singapore before moving to China, lured by the promise of a lucrative employment contract. She arrived in Guangzhou on a tourist visa. She was enslaved by her agent who locked a number of Myanmar girls in separate houses and rotated them through different jobs, holding their wages and never letting them pay off their debts. Sian Men managed to escape and returned to Myanmar by bus, evading the police who manned checkpoints along the route. 

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Vatsana B

It is estimated that 425,500 people are enslaved in Thailand, with the many subjected to forced labour. Women overseas-workers most often find employment in private households or service sectors, often finding themselves having to pay significant fees for the migration and recruitment process. Domestic servitude is also prevalent with the majority of enslaved being women from rural Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar. Victims are often physically and sexually abused, confined to the house and find their pay and identity documents withheld.  Vatsana was 13 years old when her parents could no longer afford to keep her in school and she travelled to Thailand to work. Though she was told she would be selling refreshments, upon arrival Vatsana was locked in a house, forced to do all household chores without pay and subjected to physical abuse.  

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Aicha

It is estimated that there are around 875, 000 people living in conditions of modern slavery in Nigeria. It remains a source, transit and destination country for women and children trafficked for the purposes of forced labour and commercial sexual exploitation. Within Nigeria, women and girls are trafficked primarily for domestic servitude and commercial sexual exploitation. Boys are trafficked for forced labour in street vending, agriculture, mining, stone quarries, and as domestic servants. Religious teachers also traffic boys, called almajiri, for forced begging. Aicha was told she would be staying with a woman and helping her with the housework. However instead, Aicha found herself locked in a stranger’s house and forced to work longs hours taking care of children and doing all the cooking and cleaning. Aicha stayed there for 3 years before she returned to her village. Through Plan International she has learned dress-making, and hopes to have her own workshop.