Five Namibian teenagers were en route to Russia for the purpose of pursuing an education when one of our monitors approached them for questioning.
When the monitor asked where they would be studying in Russia, the group was unable to provide the name of the university. They explained that they had been studying medicine online for the past year and had met their recruiting agent online. He had promised them this incredible opportunity, and since they didn't qualify for enrollment at the Namibian university, they thought this would be a great way to continue to pursue their dreams.
Our monitor showed these young adults the entry requirements for students in Russia, explaining that they would need to be registered with a university and also have a student visa. Since they only had an entry permit and lacked the other requirements, our monitor warned them that they were being deceived with a false offer of education. After providing them with thorough counseling about human trafficking, our monitor handed them over to the police for further investigation.
South Asia: Team Intercepts Minor Girl Crossing Border to Marry Middle-Aged Man Without Family’s Consent
Our monitoring team noticed a middle-aged man traveling toward the border with a minor girl. The girl seemed quite young and was dressed in village clothes. During questioning, it was revealed that the girl had only known the man for a couple of weeks and had run away from her home with the hopes of getting married to him. Her family was not aware of the situation, and the girl herself was unaware that the man had already been married twice before meeting her. When her family was contacted, they requested our staff to stop her from traveling. She was taken to our shelter where she was provided with food, lodging, and counseling until her family could come pick her up.
South Asia: Team Advises Woman to Obtain Job Skills Before Going to Saudi Arabia
Samjhana* is a 29-year-old female who visited our Safe Foreign Employment team while she was in the process of obtaining her passport. When our staff talked with her, they found out that her husband was already working in Saudi Arabia. Although Samjhana did not know anything about foreign employment, she was desperate to go to Saudi Arabia because she had a very small child and was struggling to make ends meet. During the interview, Samjhana shared that she was uneducated and lacked specific job skills.
Our team counseled her, explaining that recruiting agents often take advantage of uneducated and unskilled people. They told her that she might be sent abroad as a domestic worker, and they warned her that she could face a very difficult situation in a foreign country. They explained how to safely pursue a job overseas, educating her about what is legal and what is illegal in the foreign employment process. At the end of counseling, Samjhana decided she would obtain some job skills before going to Saudi Arabia, and she promised that she would never go abroad for a job as a housemaid. Before leaving, she told our team that she would visit them again to seek their advice before accepting a position in another country.
Malawi: Team Assists 13-Year-Old Girl Lured from Home; Suspect Arrested!
The team recently intercepted a 13-year-old girl who had been abducted from her village by a man named Charles*. He had lured her away from her home by promising to help her visit her mother who was living in South Africa. Upon arrival at the Mwanza border, they were stopped by police officers who asked to see their travel documents. Charles was only able to produce documents for himself, so the authorities contacted our team to intervene. Later that same day, the suspect was arrested and charged with human trafficking.
Sierra Leone: Minor Boy Intercepted at Ferry While Traveling for Promised Work
Alimamy* (14) left his home on June 9, 2022, and went all the way to Ferry Junction, which is where our monitor first noticed him and stopped him for questioning. When asked what he was doing there, Alimamy told our monitor that he was traveling with a man who had promised him a good job in Lungi.
The young boy mentioned that his father was struggling to provide for him, so he was desperate to find work. He also shared that he was traveling without his father’s knowledge or permission. Upon further questioning, Alimamy revealed that he did not know the man and had not been given any information about the type of work he would be doing or the salary he would receive.
Our monitor tried to talk to the man who was transporting Alimamy to the promised job, but he evaded questioning and quickly boarded the ferry. Alimamy did not know the man’s name and was unable to provide any specific information about him. Later that same day, Alimamy was transported back to his home in Freetown where he was reunited with his father.
Tanzania: Team Intercepts Minor Female Traveling Alone for Promised Job
Firyali* is a 15-year-old girl who traveled alone from her village to Zanzibar for a job arranged by her sister Imani*. Upon arrival in Dar es Salaam, Firyali was greeted by a stranger who took her to the port. She was told that when she arrived at the port in Zanzibar, someone would be waiting for her and would take her to her new place of employment.
Thankfully, our team in Zanzibar was monitoring at the port, and they noticed Firyali and stopped her for questioning. During the interview, Firyali shared that her future employer had paid for her travel expenses and promised her a monthly salary of 50,000 Tanzanian shillings ($21 USD). When our monitors learned that she did not know exactly what type of work she would be doing or the address of her place of employment, they intercepted her to keep her safe. They counseled her about human trafficking, explaining that she would be at high risk of exploitation. Later, they escorted her to a safe house for further counseling and care.
Kenya: Team Uncovers Red Flags and Intercepts Female Traveling for Work
Our monitors intercepted Natasha* while she was attempting to use an unofficial border crossing point to travel from Uganda to Kenya. She caught their attention because she was holding a small handbag and was walking alone. During questioning, she told our team that she had used a motorcycle to get near the crossing point, and she also mentioned that it was her first time to travel to Kenya.
Natasha told our team that a broker named Paul* had arranged employment for her in Nairobi. She would be working as a domestic helper during the day and as a masseuse at a massage parlor at night. She further mentioned that she had been promised a daily salary of Kshs. 200 ($1.60 USD). Paul had given her a contact number for a woman named Lynn*. Per his instructions, Natasha was supposed to call Lynn when she reached the bus station on the Kenyan side, and Lynn was going to meet her there and pay for her bus fare to Nairobi.
Recognizing multiple red flags, our staff educated Natasha about human trafficking, explaining that she would be facing potential abuse and labor exploitation. Not only did she lack the relevant work experience to be employed in a massage parlor, but she was also clearly going to be overworked and underpaid. After listening to our team’s warnings, Natasha decided to return to her own home.
Cambodia: Team Assists Young Boy Abandoned at Mall; Investigation Ongoing
Our team had a recent case involving a young boy who had been left alone at a mall by a woman. Shortly after she left him, the boy began to cry and shout for his mother. He sat on a bench and waited for her to come back. Our monitors observed him from a distance, waiting for the woman to return, but she never did.
The boy became more and more frightened and started crying loudly. When our monitors approached him and asked where his mom was, he said he didn’t know. With the assistance of mall staff, the boy was taken to a nearby information booth. Further questions revealed that the boy did not know the woman's name and that he was from a province outside of the city. After approximately 30 minutes, the mall made an announcement about the lost boy, and the same woman returned. She was furious and shouted at him, "You are a problem, and I don't want you!" The woman admitted that she was trying to abandon the boy at the mall. Meanwhile, the boy continued to say that he did not know the woman's name, and our staff began to doubt that this woman was actually the child’s mother.
They contacted the police who immediately came to the scene. After two hours of police questioning, the boy’s stepfather came to the police station and spoke with the commander. The police conducted a thorough investigation, and our staff provided their sworn statement. The police warned the stepfather that this woman, now claiming to be the stepmom, should not be caring for children. The woman also admitted to having done this three previous times. The police were very thankful for our staff's involvement in making sure the child was safe.
Although our staff does not formally monitor at this location, our investigations team is aware that the area has been known to host people who groom children and go on "dates" with them. Furthermore, our staff has observed several older men accompanying at-risk children in the mall and buying toys and food for them. Although this particular case is still under investigation and needs further follow-up, our team suspects that the child was left at the mall for another person to come pick him up and take him to their home.
Lesotho: Team Intercepts Young Female Traveling for Suspicious Job
Recently, our team approached and interviewed a 21-year-old female. She mentioned that she was going to Bethlehem because her sister had arranged a job for her working as a shop assistant in one of the supermarkets. Her sister had previously worked at the same supermarket but had left to find a better job.
Our staff contacted the sister to verify the information. During this phone call, the sister claimed that her younger sibling was going to be working in a different place and location than the one that the female had already told our team she was headed to. The alleged sister then mentioned that one of her friends would be picking her sister up at the taxi stand.
Our team contacted this friend for additional questioning. The friend confirmed that she was expecting the young girl’s arrival but said that she was only going to help her get a taxi to the supermarket where she would be working, and then she would return to her own job. This friend further revealed that she wasn’t even sure about the exact location or name of the supermarket where the young girl would be working. Based on these red flags, our monitors attempted to call the potential employer, and they discovered that the phone number did not exist. They immediately intercepted the young girl, provided her with education about human trafficking, and then arranged her safe transportation home.
South Africa: Woman Seeking Suspicious Job on Facebook, Intercepted!
A young woman was recently profiled on Facebook after expressing interest in a job post about bus cleaners. One of our monitors contacted her, offering to do verification on her behalf, and the female accepted the assistance. During conversation, the woman said that she always searches for jobs online and on various Facebook pages. She mentioned that she had recently seen a post seeking bus cleaners for one weekend only, with a promised salary of R4000 ($230 USD). The woman saw this as a great opportunity since she hadn't been working for a long time and also had experience in cleaning. She thought this would be her lucky break that would provide some short-term relief for her and her family!
Our monitor contacted the recruiter, pretending to look for a job. He answered the call and told her he was looking for young women up to their mid-thirties. He said that she could have the job as it was just a cleaning job and no experience was necessary. When the monitor asked about the salary, the story started to change. The recruiter said the job would be for a week and that she’d be paid more than the post stated. And then he started making sexual comments and asked if she wanted a “blesser” or a “sugar daddy.” He said that most women don’t really want to work; they just want to get money from blessers. When the monitor shut him down, he returned to being more professional to cover up his mistake.
The monitor reported back to the woman and told her that she had uncovered a recruiter looking for females to be sugar babies and warning her that the offer could pose a number of risks including debt bondage, sexual exploitation, etc. The monitor then educated her about human trafficking and the tricks that traffickers used to lure desperate women who are simply looking for jobs and trying to improve their lives. After talking with our staff, the female decided not to pursue the job.
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*All data and statistics current at the date and time of publishing. Names changed and some specific locations excluded for privacy and security purposes.