Slavery was abolished by most countries 150 years ago but bonded and forced labour, human trafficking and exploitation still persists in the 21st century. I had always thought there was no longer slavery in this our new world and that everybody was living a free life but it turned out contemporary slavery still exist in the present day and in different forms. The topic of slavery is really broad with it different categories listed under it from forced labour, debt bondage, descent based slavery, child slavery and forced marriages among others but the one which really beats my imagination is human trafficking of which forced labour is listed under it. Upon all the laws created around the world in different countries to abolish human trafficking and slavery as a whole, it still goes on unofficially and sadly some government officials in some countries are aware of it and still do nothing about it as basically it’s a major source of income.
The human trafficking involves the recruitment, harbouring or transporting people into situation of exploitation through violence deception or coercion and forced against their will all bottling down to a modern day slavery many organisations are working to abolish entirely. Taking Africa into retrospect it has been the continent where slavery had been from the transatlantic slave trade but yet after civilization other Africans remain enslaved and exploited in foreign countries where they seek work for a better life which brings me to the Arab countries as my main focus. With their racists, barbaric and ‘kafala system’ am still quite surprised how migrant workers from Asia and sub-Saharan countries continue to flock the Middle East for work. Filipina, Nepali, Bangladeshi, Sri Lankan, Indonesia, Ugandan, Kenyan, Ethiopian, Ghanaian ,Nigerian among others, women are abused in private homes where they are into forced into abusive domestic servitude whilst Indian, Nepali Pakistani and Bangladesh men are exploited in the construction of infrastructure for this countries at little or no wages.
The kafala system meaning sponsorship is when a migrant worker is tied to her employer on residency and employment which means a worker cannot change his sponsor or leave the country without the approval of the sponsor which I found absurd and barbaric. Thereby, giving the employer the power to control the employee. The situation is worse in blue collar jobs where the employees are forced to work overtime with physical and mental threat; abused physically and emotionally where in some cases deaths occur in some Arab countries .They are dehumanised treated like a commodity physically constrained or restricted on freedom of movement which is actually wasn’t what was promised them in their home countries.
Many young girls in African countries precisely Ethiopia, Uganda, Ghana and Nigeria have fallen victims to deceptive countrymen who act as agents for recruitment agencies in these Arab countries. These unsuspecting girls are trafficked into these Arab countries like the UAE, Kuwait, Saudi, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman. They are promised heaven on earth by the agents, good salaries, better working conditions and are trafficked away from home without them knowing what they are in for or no idea of them being exploited. Most of these girls are sent into domestic servitude, where their travel documents are seized and they are tied to their employers by the kafala system. Most of them are discriminated against, abused both physically and emotionally and realise when it too late that they were exploited. They are made to work over time, no days off, locked indoors and sometimes raped by their employers. They can’t run away and to where, which is truly disheartening. The few who are able to make it out always have stories and body scars which mostly leave some of them emotionally traumatised and yet my African sisters are still being exploited despite the news on the internet about how fellow country women were treated in the Saudis’, Qatar’s, Jordan’s and Dubai’s.
There are many girls who after the experience don’t live to tell their story which leave me to think why the African youth are still being brainwashed and exploited into this racist Arab countries to be treated as slaves. The media in victims home countries don’t give enough sensitization on some of the things that go on there, but wait till an isolated event about how they are treated and hype it over a week and create no awareness. Maybe the agents are deceptive enough and obviously the African leaders are not doing anything to make the youth stay. Unemployment, poverty and less income with bad working conditions are enough to push the girls in hopes of raising enough income to support their families back home. Most of this African countries have prevented visas to be granted to their citizen who want to enter some of this Arab countries but it isn’t enough as this unscrupulous agents still find ways and means to traffic this girls out of the country through the help of some immigration agents. Some of these African countries when confronted on how their citizens are being treated in these countries all they say is victims should report to their consulates in the Arab countries. How can a slave locked indoors go to her consulate when it could have been stopped with laws in her home country? So I ask myself, is that all the governments can do? Can’t they see the posters on the wall and advertisement on the media still promising better jobs outside in gulf oil countries? Are the lives of the youth not important to them or they don’t know the youth are the future of the country?
I am also heavily disappointed in those country men who sell their own countrywomen to this inhumane and heartless Arabs for a fee when they know exactly what the girls go through there. I do blame it on poverty as a black person will do anything to make money even if it meant selling the other out. I wonder if the authorities in the Arab countries don’t know there is trafficking going on or they just support the blacks and immigrants being treated that way.
And to the Arab countries that treat the African girls badly due to the colour of their skin let it be known that it isn’t forever.
Someone tell the Arabs that the colour of their skin doesn’t make them better than us.
Someone tell the Arabs that the world is watching.
Someone tell the Arabs that African will learn.
Someone tell the Arabs that this wouldn’t go on forever and that Africa will thrive and take its rightful place.