By: Happy Arnold Soko
As Malawi’s diminishing economy continues to render an increase in girls trafficked to Asian countries for employment, one courageous female human trafficking survivor has broken the silence in an exclusive interview with The Malawi Star.
Speaking strictly on the condition of anonymity from the Malawian Embassy camp house in Kuwait, the victim, who we’ll call “Ellen,” described the crazy turn of events her life took over the past several years. Ellen, now 26 years old said she fell victim to human trafficking after a lady from Ghana identified only as Fosteiner promised to take her to Kuwait for a good paying job.
She also described her survival as a miracle after running from the house where she was sold. She alleges that Fosteiner wooed her with the promise of a high-paying job as a housemaid in Kuwait, only to find out later that she had been sold into slavery.
“I was told that I will work as a waiter and get paid US$ 350 per month, but when I got here, I was employed as a maid and my salary was reduced to US$ 250. I worked continuously from 6AM to 12PM and was only offered one meal a day, “ says Ellen.
“Once we all got here our passports were seized and they refused to return them. Every girl from Malawi who came here was sold and you have to work for a term of years that is agreed upon by the agent and the boss that has bought you. Like in my case, I was sold for a two-year term and I could only use the phone in the bathroom because the house had security cameras everywhere.”
Another female victim – we’ll call her “Jane” – this one from the Dowa District revealed that she was sent from Kuwait to Saudi Arabia by her boss to work as a drug trafficker.
“I am from Dowa and I was bought here in Kuwait. My bosses sent me to Saudi Arabia to work as a drug trafficker. When I refused, they actually showed me a receipt that I was bought [for] US$ 3000 and [told me] I belong to them. Then the family that bought me told my agent and the agent tried to convince me with money so that I would go. This is when I called the Deputy Ambassador and run away,” stated Jane in a telephone interview with The Malawi Star.
In an undercover interview by this reporter with the Ghanaian agent Fosteiner, it was revealed that many of the girls she assisted from Malawi have escaped from where they were sold.
Using the Pseudonym “Natasha Phiri” on a Whatsapp conversation that continued for close to 2 hours, Fosteiner said that 90 percent of the Malawian ladies that she has trafficked to Kuwait are lazy. As a result, Fosteiner said she no longer wants to traffick in Malawian girls because they are lazy.
The full text of the conversation on Whatsapp is posted below. The conversation with “Fosteiner” was via a Kuwait phone line registered as +96 56 775 9800
According to “Jane” and “Ellen,” there are approximately 15 girls currently being kept at the Malawian Embassy in Kuwait; many of them have had their visas seized.
Others are still imprisoned in various homes belonging to their agents or their new owners.
“We are appealing to well-wishers from Malawi and the Government to help us come home. All we need right now are air tickets and visas,” pleaded Ellen.
As we went to press, Malawi Deputy Ambassador to Kuwait, Alison Liwanda requested a formal questionnaire to react on the matter.