The Enslaved Gambian Trafficked Girls In Kuwait Want To Return Home; As Human Trafficking Victims Speak; Gambia Has Now Become The Hub For Human Trafficking In West Africa; Millions Of Dollars In Terms Of Foreign Currency Enters Gambia Through Human Trafficking.
The Gambia has now become the hub for human trafficking in the West African region, the Freedom Newspaper can reveal. Hundreds of Gambian girls have been trafficked to the Gulf State of Kuwait, Dubai, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Lebanon, over the years, under the disguise of “business trips and work related visas” only for the girls to be held as residential slaves by their Arab slave masters. The girls are usually sold to Arab families for an exorbitant amount of money by their traffickers some whom live in The Gambia, Senegal, and in the Gulf States.
It is an organized lucrative human trafficking scheme, which is attracting millions of dollars in terms of foreign currency to the countries, where the menace is prevalent, particularly the impoverished West African nation, The Gambia. Millions of dollars worth of foreign remittances entered the Gambia on a yearly basis from the Golf States
Some of the smuggled Gambian girls in Kuwait have told Freedom Radio Gambia that they were sold for D100, 000 dalasi, which is equivalent to $2,500 United States dollars. The girls said they have been subjected to all forms of inhumane treatment ranging from: daily beatings, denial of food by their slave masters, doing long hours menial jobs, cutting grass, laundry, cooking, confined to a room without any interpersonal relation, verbal and physical abuse, just to name a few.
One of the smuggled girls, who goes with the name Sohna, in an interview with Freedom Radio Gambia on Wednesday, said she was told by her Arab slave master in Kuwait that she was allegedly sold by her Gambian trafficker Ansumana Colley for 750 dinar. She said part of her job includes: climbing trees, roofs, cleaning of Air conditioners, cleaning of walls, fences, laundry, cleaning cars, serving as a babysitter, and so forth.
Sohna is not her real name, one Gambian based in Kuwait said. Sohna alleged that she is occasionally denied food; harassed, denied access to telephone, and her family in The Gambia. She lives for days without eating. She sometimes steals food from her slave masters fridge, when they were away.
Sogna, is paid $250 United dollars monthly salary. If she misses one day from work, she wouldn’t be paid for that month. If she is sick, she wouldn’t be taken to the doctor for treatment. She is currently suffering from heart related illness. Her Arab bosses would tell her to recite the Koran by saying “ALLAH AKUBAR” as a form of seeking healing from God.
She is supposed to stay in Kuwait for two years. She said out of the eight months, that she been working as a slave in Kuwait, she only got paid twice. This is partly due to her rebellious attitude towards her Arab slave masters. She would quit her job at the middle of the month and moved to the traffickers, who brought her to Kuwait.
But Sohna said she rather die at the home of her new slave master because the conditions at the traffickers mini jailhouses is horrific. She said they are underfed, beaten, and locked up for hours.
Sogna told Freedom Radio Gambia that she is now contemplating committing suicide because of the abuse she is undergoing in the hands of her slave master. She wants The Gambia government to come to their aid by freeing them from captivity. She also said she will attack her Gambian trafficker Ansumana Colley upon his return home.
Ansumana Colley, in an earlier interview with Freedom Radio Gambia, has categorically denied that his company is engaged in human trafficking. Colley said The Gambia government is aware of the existence of his company and that the girls are expected to comply with the terms and conditions of their employment in Kuwait. He told Freedom Radio Gambia that the Arabs spent one hundred thousand dalasi for each girl benefiting from the Kuwaiti guest worker program.
Zeinab Ceesay, a young Gambian lady, said she was never told the conditions of her job in Kuwait prior to her trip. She was expecting a more relaxed and friendly job environment. But to her surprise, this was never the case. She said she is beaten on a daily basis by her Arab slave master. She was also denied food and compelled to work for long hours without having a day off.
Another trafficked Gambia girl from SerreKunda, twenty one year old Mariama Jallow, said she was lured into travelling to Kuwait by Lie Nyang and Modou Nyang, both residents of Brikama. Ms. Jallow said she was told by the two Nyang brothers that she was going for a business trip in Dubai for two weeks, and was supposed to work in a shopping mall. She said Modou Nyang accompanied her to Dakar, Senegal, where she boarded a flight to Dubai and later found herself in Kuwait. She said the traffickers are running an office in Dakar, Senegal. All trafficked Gambian girls must crossed the border to board a flight to Kuwait.
Upon arrival in Kuwait, her passport was seized. An Arab couple came to pick her up from the Kuwaiti trafficker. She said she arrived in Kuwait sometime in June, but the conditions of her work is horrible. She wants to return home.
A Gambian girl, who goes with the name with Fatou, said her employer in Kuwait is treating her fine. She said the only problem that they are faced with is working long hours without a day off. She is contend with the $2,500 monthly salary is being paid. She said she cannot earn such a salary in The Gambia.
Fatou said she has been working for months without been paid. Hence, she decided to ask Ansumana Colley to help her travel to Kuwait. She said she has no intention of returning home for now. She wants to complete her two years in Kuwait.
A Gambian lady, who recently escaped in the hands of her Lebanese captive said she was repeatedly beaten while she works as a maid in Lebanon. She even had to flee to the police station to seek for help. She told her relatives that she was trafficked by one Ali, a Lebanese. She works for months without been paid. She was also denied food.
Commenting on the Kuwaiti human trafficking story, Ndey Dadou, a Gambian based in Alaska, in the United States, said she was a victim of human trafficking back in 1997. She recalled how one Mr. Bambo Janneh, of Banjul trafficked her to Kuwait. She said at the time, trafficked ladies were never asked to pay a dime. She was told that upon arrival in Kuwait, she was going to secure a job, but to her surprise, she was sold to an Arab couple.
Ndey Dadou, spent about two months working at the home of the Arab couple. The husband of her Arab slave master was a good friend to the then Gambian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, one Mr. Bojang. Ambassador Bojang even visited the Arab man in Kuwait, and exchanged greetings with Ndey Dadou on the phone. She told him that she was from Leman street Banjul. She also told him who her parents in Banjul were.
A month or so later, Ndey Dadou’s Arab boss told her that he was travelling to Sierra Leone for a business trip. That if she wants he can help her deliver a letter or a recorded audio tape to her family through his Gambian Ambassador friend in Saudi.
Ndey then recorded herself and explain the situation in Kuwait to her parents. She told her parents that she was working on coming back home because the conditions there were not fine. She also told her parents to tell Bambo Janneh to stop sending Gambian girls to Kuwait, only for the girls to be held as slaves by their Arab bosses. The tape was later handed to the National Intelligence Agency, the NIA, which resulted to the arrest of Bambo Janneh and co.
According to Ndey Dadou, dictator Yahya Jammeh airlifted some of the women, who were being held as slaves during one of his trips to Kuwait. But she said she refused to board Jammeh’s plane. She is an opponent of dictator Jammeh’s government.
The husband of Ndey’s boss was a kind man. But she said the wife was the problem. She even fought with the Arab man’s wife on numerous occasions.
Ndey Dadou suffered an untold hardship in Kuwait during her four months stay there. She later returned home and was interviewed by the NIA.
When she arrived in Dakar, she confronted the trafficker, who played a role towards her journey to Kuwait. She said the trafficker gave her transport fare, which she used to return to Banjul.
Omar Bah, a Gambian journalist, and also a Refugee Coordinator in the State of Rhode Island, empathized with the trafficked Gambian girls. He urged the trafficked girls to visit the nearest US Embassy, or Consulate, the United Nations office in Kuwait, UNHCR, and seek for protection. Bah maintained that the girls were indeed trafficked from The Gambia. He observed that in the absence of a functional government in Banjul, unfortunately such things are bound to happen. He blamed The Gambia government for failing to live up to its responsibility by working with civilized nations in combating human trafficking.
Meanwhile, Zeinab Ceesay and two other Gambian girls have been confined to tiny room in Kuwait, pending their home return. The girls were told by their traffickers that they were illegally smuggled into Kuwait. Below is a snapshot of a text message containing their physical address in Kuwait. These girls need your help. They have been kidnapped by the Kuwaiti human traffickers.