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Charita

The Global Slavery Index 2018 estimates that on any given day there were nearly 8 million people living in modern slavery in India. The GSI 2018 reports an emerging trend in northeast India where organised trafficking syndicates operate along the open and unmanned international borders, duping or coercing young girls seeking employment outside their local area in to forced sexual exploitation. Many women and girls are lured with the promise of a good job but then forced in to sex work, with a 'conditioning' period involving violence, threats, debt bondage and rape.  Charita* was kidnapped by a boy on her way home from school. She was taken to Mumbai and sold to a brothel. There she found her sister who had disappeared a couple of year previously. Though Charita was rescued from the brothel, her sister remains there.

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Anessa

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 labor, in which traffickers exploit an initial debt assumed by a worker as part of the employment terms.     Anessa was 13 years old when she married her 50 year old employer Samad. Once married, Samad told Anessa that she would go work abroad. A job was found for Samad in Kuwait, where upon arrival, she was told she would engage in sex work. Samad sent what money she received back to her husband, however upon returning to Bangladesh found out that her husband had divorced her.  

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Mumtaz

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. Mumtaz was brought to Watgoni by her husband, a man from Comilla. Her husband used to work at the Watgoni dockyard where a large brothel attended to the needs of sailors and dockers. He lost his job and a few months later brought Mumtaz and engaged her in sex work. It took Mumtaz 7 years to be able to get away from her husband’s control and tyranny. A friend helped her move out of Watgonj and settle in Tallygonj. She has been working with the DMSC since 1993.  

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Anura

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.  Anura left Bangladesh for work in Kuwait. Thinking she would be working for a company, on arrival she was taken to a house and then taken to a brothel where she was held for 3 days before escaping.  

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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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Afroza

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. Afroza travelled to Kuwait for work in 1994 through a family member, Josna. However, upon arrival, Afroza was left at the airport for days before she was eventually taken to an employer. Josna moved Afroza from employer to employer where she was subjected to sexual abuse and non-payment of wages.

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Rokeya

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. Rokeya was 29 years old when she was sent to Kuwait to work in a factory. However, Rokeya was not paid what she was promised and was forced to provide sexual services to be able to send money home to her family.

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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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Masuma

There are an estimated 15,000 people living in conditions of modern slavery in the United Arab Emirates which acts as a destination and transit country for men and women subjected to forced labour and sex trafficking. Foreign workers recruited globally account for over 95% of the country’s private workforce. Some are subjected to practices indicative to trafficking such as passport retention, non-payment of wages and substandard food and housing. Women travelling willingly to the UAE to work as domestic workers, massage therapists, beauticians, hotel cleaners, or elsewhere in the service sector, are sometimes subjected to forced labour or sex trafficking after arrival.     At the end of May 2001, Masuma, 17 years old, was sent to Dubai by Siddique Ali, a local dalal. She was never picked up at the airport, instead she was forced to remain there, providing sexual services to pay for a ticket back home.

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Zulekha

There are an estimated 15,000 people living in conditions of modern slavery in the United Arab Emirates which acts as a destination and transit country for men and women subjected to forced labour and sex trafficking. Foreign workers recruited globally account for over 95% of the country’s private workforce. Some are subjected to practices indicative to trafficking such as passport retention, non-payment of wages and substandard food and housing. Women travelling willingly to the UAE to work as domestic workers, massage therapists, beauticians, hotel cleaners, or elsewhere in the service sector, are sometimes subjected to forced labour or sex trafficking after arrival.  Zulekha worked in a garment factory before leaving for Dubai in March 2001. She was 20 years old and unmarried. Though she had heard about the risks of girls being trafficked from Bangladesh, Zulekha chose to migrate anyway. Upon arrival she was taken to a house and provided a good meal. However, the next day Zulekha was taken to a hotel and forced to provide sexual services to men for 2 months. After this time Zulekha became pregnant and her broker sent her back to Bangladesh. 

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Sahara

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.    Sahara was 16 years old in 1996 when, encouraged by her husband, she left Bangladesh for Kuwait to find work. However, upon arrival Sahara was taken to a home where she was forced to provide sexual services, subjected to physical abuse and denied food. Sahara was finally able to leave and return home, however her relationship with her husband has deteriorated as a result of her migration. 

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Noor B

Despite signs of progress, Bangladesh continues to have one of the highest child marriage rates in the world.66% of girls in Bangladesh are married under 18 with the average age of marriage for girls in the country being 15. As well as deeply embedded cultural beliefs, poverty, is also a driving factor for child marriage, with parents’ seeking to obtain economic and social security for their daughter. Dowry also continues to be a driving factor, with prices often increasing the older a girl gets.    Noor B was forced to get married at the age of 11 to a husband who did not work and was physically abusive. To support her four children, Noor started her own business selling clothes. She tells of how this has allowed her daughters to get an education rather than being forced in to child marriage, but that once they start working she will choose husbands for them. 

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Ruhana M

Despite signs of progress, Bangladesh continues to have one of the highest child marriage rates in the world.66% of girls in Bangladesh are married under 18 with the average age of marriage for girls in the country being 15. As well as deeply embedded cultural beliefs, poverty, is also a driving factor for child marriage, with parents’ seeking to obtain economic and social security for their daughter. Dowry also continues to be a driving factor, with prices often increasing the older a girl gets.    Ruhana M. was 10 when she was sent to live in Dhaka with her stepsister who works at a garment factory. Ruhana was told that she would be cared for and sent to school, however upon arrival she was forced to cook and clean in the home. When Ruhana began menstruating at age 12, her stepsister forced her to marry a man she did not know. Ruhana now has a six-year-old daughter. She does day labor as a road worker to pay for her daughter to go to school. 

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Azima B

Despite signs of progress, Bangladesh continues to have one of the highest child marriage rates in the world.66% of girls in Bangladesh are married under 18 with the average age of marriage for girls in the country being 15. As well as deeply embedded cultural beliefs, poverty, is also a driving factor for child marriage, with parents’ seeking to obtain economic and social security for their daughter. Dowry also continues to be a driving factor, with prices often increasing the older a girl gets.    Despite wanting to continue on with her education, Azima B was forced to marry as her parents feared river erosion would cause their house to be swept away and make it harder for her to be married later on.  

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Anita A

Despite signs of progress, Bangladesh continues to have one of the highest child marriage rates in the world.66% of girls in Bangladesh are married under 18 with the average age of marriage for girls in the country being 15. As well as deeply embedded cultural beliefs, poverty, is also a driving factor for child marriage, with parents’ seeking to obtain economic and social security for their daughter. Dowry also continues to be a driving factor, with prices often increasing the older a girl gets.    Anita was 13 years old when she was forced to marry a man she did not know. Anita became pregnant 5 months in to the marriage at 14 years old. Her delivery was extremely difficult and the baby died, leaving Anita in severe pain and injured. Anita now worries that if she cannot have another baby, her husband will leave her. 

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Nargis

Despite signs of progress, Bangladesh continues to have one of the highest child marriage rates in the world.66% of girls in Bangladesh are married under 18 with the average age of marriage for girls in the country being 15. As well as deeply embedded cultural beliefs, poverty, is also a driving factor for child marriage, with parents’ seeking to obtain economic and social security for their daughter. Dowry also continues to be a driving factor, with prices often increasing the older a girls gets. Nargis was 14 when she was forced to marry a man she didn’t know almost twice her age in an attempt to escape poverty.

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Latika C

The Global Slavery Index has estimated that there are almost 3 million people living in conditions of modern slavery in the region of the Middle East and North Africa. Oman 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. Latika C. migrated because of family debt to the UAE for domestic work in October 2014. There, an agent took her to a recruitment agency in Al Ain. Shortly after, an Omani man hired her, and took her to Oman for domestic work. Her employers did not pay her salary for 5 months, beat her when she asked to be paid, confiscated her passport, and made her work 15 hours a day with no rest or day off. They falsely accused her of a crime after she asked for her money.

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Asma

The Global Slavery Index has estimated that there are almost 3 million people living in conditions of modern slavery in the region of the Middle East and North Africa. Oman 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 was living in Bangladesh when she paid 300 OMR to an agent in Bangladesh to connect her to a job in the UAE. Upon arrival, her passport was confiscated, and she was forced to work 21 hours a day with no rest or days off. Asma was deprived of food, did not get paid and was subjected to verbal and sexual harassment.