Thursday, 12 March 2020

What is human trafficking?

Hi. My name is Abigail and this is my story.

A year ago, I made a decision to seek employment  in Oman because it seemed like an easy way to make quick money.

 There they wanted someone who could cook Indian food and I was qualified plus I really enjoy being in the kitchen especially when I'm baking. Now, I've made many bad decisions in my life but this is by far the worst decision ever.

I did not consult anyone apart from my cousin who was already working in Oman as a housemaid. She assured me that everything was ok and that I was gonna be just fine.

When I arrived in Oman I believed that I had made the right decision, I mean Muscat looked beautiful, clean, peaceful and everything seemed to be in order. Little did I know that in a few months everything would change. Deep down I knew that I was sacrificing my life because of the stories that I heard on the radio and from people but that did not stop me. I'm a single mother and I would do anything for my son and my family.

I almost never care about my happiness, as long as those in my life are happy that's enough for me. So I figured that if I would work while sending money back home, by the end of 2 years  I would be financially stable so I was good to go. The lure of working abroad was hard to resist more so the promised salary was much more than I had ever been able to earn at home.

At first, you feel appreciated until demands start coming, like forcing you to join Islam because for some reason to them that is the only true religion.

 First, your passport is taken from you and then they get you an Id which they take from you too. To make things worse, when the month ends you do not get paid what you were promised and then they will try to convince you to let them keep the money for you. As long as you do what they tell you without any resistance, you will be ok and they will even shower you with fancy gifts.

When I got there everything seemed great until I realised that I actually had to do all the housework.

My boss assured me that she would help me around the house until they find a maid to do the work but I told her that I was a chef and not a cleaner but well, that didn't go well so I just had to accept their demands. What started as a quick easy way to making good money turned into a nightmare. It was a family of 7 and I literally had to clean the whole house and cook too.

I would wake up at 5:00am do all the cleaning and I had to be done by 9:00am then make breakfast, Do laundry, iron and then cook lunch, serve the food then, bake a cake or snacks, clean the kitchen and by the time I'm done I would be totally knackered yet I would still have more work to do.

I reached a point where I only had 4hours of sleep every day.

 I lost weight, every part of my body was in pain and when I asked them to take me to the hospital they refused. I reached a point where I felt like I couldn't go on. I had had enough so I told my boss that I wanted to leave because I couldn't handle the situation. At that moment everything changed. I had never seen so much evil and hatred in someone's eyes like I did that day.

 I knew that my life was in danger. My boss told me that if I wanted to leave I had to pay him back the money he paid my agent but I told him that I did not know about that deal and I hadn't signed any contract that showed how much money he had paid for me so he called my agent and she told him that he was to do whatever he wanted with me because he paid for me and therefore he owned me. In fact, she sent him a voice message which he played for me. At that moment I knew that only God could save me so I resorted to prayer, like non-stop.

To make things worse, my sister who was studying in India passed away and he refused me to go for burial because he was sure that I wouldn't go back to work. I was a slave and from that moment they watched every step I made.

He had cameras in my room as well and he never liked the idea that I locked my room while I slept. I just wanted the ground to swallow me.

Anyways, one day I was not feeling well and they had to go visit the parents so I told him that I was going to stay behind and rest but he said no. I was in my room laying down and the door was locked. He asked me to open it and I refused so he broke it down but I still refused to go. That was it for me, in fact, that night I slept outside the house and prayed. I called the police the next morning.

 When the police came I ran to the police car thinking that I was finally free and that they would take me to the police and everything would be resolved. But out of nowhere one policeman started slapping me and he pulled me out of the car.

The three of them started beating me and kicking me. I was bleeding everywhere but they wouldn't stop. I was screaming but nobody came to my rescue. All I could do was pray and all of a sudden I heard a voice telling me not to fear, that everything was gonna be ok and at that moment the pain was no more.

My prayer, "God, I'm not ready to die, I need another chance to go back home and feel the little hands of my son around my shoulders and to just be with my family one last time" I'm here because he answered and that is a miracle.

I was finally able to escape, I ran and ran and ran until I reached a certain trading centre and everyone was asking what was going on. I told them that I only wanted to go to the police.

 The police car finally caught up with me and they took me to the police station. They asked me what I wanted and I told them that I just wanted to go home and be with my family. So the police asked my boss to buy me a ticket and to drop me off at the airport.

 I told him that he didn't have to worry about me because I had forgiven him and his family because vengeance is the Lords. To cut the whole story short, I was able to get home safely but I was a mess.

 I was psychologically tortured and I didn't want to talk to anyone. I couldn't sleep well for about 4months. It took about 6months for me to start talking and connecting to people again. I'm forever thankful to God and all my friends and family who have helped me on this journey to recovery.

I hope my story helps somebody out there not to make the same mistake I made.

What Is Human Trafficking?

Human trafficking involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act. Every year, millions of men, women, and children are trafficked worldwide – including right here in the United States. It can happen in any community and victims can be any age, race, gender, or nationality.

 Traffickers might use violence, manipulation, or false promises of well-paying jobs or romantic relationships to lure victims into trafficking situations.

Language barriers, fear of their traffickers, and/or fear of law enforcement frequently keep victims from seeking help, making human trafficking a hidden crime.

Traffickers use force, fraud, or coercion to lure their victims and force them into labor or commercial sexual exploitation.

They look for people who are susceptible for a variety of reasons, including psychological or emotional vulnerability, economic hardship, lack of a social safety net, natural disasters, or political instability. The trauma caused by the traffickers can be so great that many may not identify themselves as victims or ask for help, even in highly public settings.

As defined by UN/DHS blue campaign.

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