I am a 48-year old Kenyan woman from Kilifi. I have a diploma in front office management but my original profession could not support my four children. The father of my children abandoned us and remarried, so I was their only option for a better future. In 2011, a close friend introduced me to a recruitment agency for domestic workers in Mombasa. That year I travelled to Saudi Arabia, where I worked for four years.
In 2015, I went to Dubai and in 2016 I proceeded to Qatar to work there for two years before I escaped and returned to Kenya with the help of the Kenyan Embassy. My experiences were similar in all countries – my employers confiscated my passport, I was forced to work for long hours and I was physically and verbally abused. At night, I was forced to sleep on the floor. My life was horrible but this did not deter me from pushing through, as I had to support my children.
In 2018, I decided to travel to Qatar for the second time seeking to work as a domestic servant using another recruitment agency. Upon departure, we were intercepted at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi by the Anti-trafficking Police Unit. The recruitment agency had been blacklisted for human trafficking. We were taken to HAART Kenya’s office where we received food and bus tickets to our home town. After two weeks, HAART Kenya visited me and I told them my story. HAART Kenya offered me a place in their rehabilitation program and we jointly developed a case plan based on my needs. The interventions included; therapy, basic needs support, medical cover and a grant which I used to start a small food kiosk. All was well, I could pay for my medical treatment, feed and educate my children and for the first time being my own boss gave me the sense of freedom I had lost.
When COVID-19 entered Kenya, I could not access my business premise due to the barrier erected by the government to curb the movement of people from Mombasa to Kilifi County. For the last two months, I have been depending on basic needs assistance by HAART Kenya. I am uncertain how long it will take to contain the spread of COVID-19 but hopefully by then I will still have money to re-establish my business. My greatest fear is going back to begging for financial aid to support myself and my children or seeking domestic work abroad to cater for their needs.
Survivors of human trafficking need your help now! Due to the effects of COVID-19, most of the survivors in HAART’s program have lost their income. Please help us raise USD 50,000 to carry 100 survivors and their families through the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Let them have a future.Donate now on haartkenya.org/donatePaybill Number is 823258 (Account Number: Your Name)Your impact will be DOUBLED by The Freedom Fund: Any donation to the campaign will be matched 100 percent!Thank you for making a difference!#haartagainstcovid#survivorstories#doubleyourimpact#fighthumantrafficking