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Sierra Leone News: Enslaved in Kuwait for 2 months… Victim reveals secrets

A young Sierra Leonean in her mid 20’s (name withheld) revealed the secret behind the so-called job opportunities in Kuwait, yesterday, in an exclusive interview
It’s no secret that many Sierra Leoneans are desperately in search of greener pastures outside Sierra Leone. Many people struggle to secure passports and overseas visas so they can apply for jobs in foreign countries. Agents, some legitimate and many illegitimate, operate in Sierra Leone, claiming to have job opportunities. One such destination, rumoured to have jobs, is Kuwait.
The Immigration Office at Gloucester Street and regional offices around the country are under serious pressure from desperate young and energetic Sierra Leoneans applying for passport.
Explaining her ordeal, the poor girl disclosed that Mr. Dumbuya, at the Immigration Office, was a local agent for these overseas jobs. It was Dumbuya who informed her about the program in Kuwait.
She stated, Dumbuya succeeded in convincing her about the program. She was told she would work in Kuwait at an “outside job”, meaning a position with a hotel or restaurant. She was told she’d be free to work under the Visa 18 program as opposed to the Visa 20 program where young women work as house help and are basically slaves.
Unfortunately for her, when her Visa arrived it was written Arabic, which she could not read. She couldn’t tell if the visa was a visa18 or 20. She paid $400 USD to the agent who worked at the Immigration Office.
“If you are going with Visa 20 the ticket and Visa fee are free. The Madam for whom you are going to work for will pay for that whiles paying for your service in the sum of 900 KD equivalent to $3000 (three thousand USD) to the agent in Kuwait,” she says.
According to her, about 50 of them travelled through Guinea to Kuwait between the 4th & 5th of February 2017. Upon arrival at the airport in Kuwait, their passports and mobile phones were seized by the Immigration Officers and asked them to wait for their agents.
She disclosed that her Kuwaiti agent was speaking in Arabic with her Madam who later handed over some money to the agent and signed some documents. She explained that her agent in Sierra Leone, Mr. Dumbuya, told her, her monthly payment would be $500 USD, but she was only receiving $200 per month without any medical benefits.
The young woman victim furthered that she used to work day-and-night as a cook for three households without any time for rest. She quit the first Madam with the help of her Kuwaiti agent. She was placed with another Madam who was harsher and crueler than the first Madam.
According to her, someone linked her with the Sierra Leonean Embassy in Kuwait. She managed escape to the Embassy at night. She was told by Embassy officials that they could not help her while she was staying with her Madam.
“Officials at the Sierra Leone Embassy, after filing some forms, took me to a place called ‘Shelter’ that was built by the Prince of Kuwait for Kardama’s who are having problems with their Madam’s,” according to her.
Embassy officials helped the young woman to contact relatives in Sierra Leone to arrange a return ticket. She said the agent in Kuwait refused to return her passport until she had her return ticket. She eventually retrieved her passport and returned to Sierra Leone approximately four days ago.
She urged all Sierra Leoneans whose relatives are in Kuwait to find a way to reach them to see how best they can return home, as the working environment is nothing good to write home about especially for women.
According to her, some of her colleagues are used as sex slaves; some are in prison while others go without any food for days as there is nowhere for them to complain.
Friday  April 21, 2017.

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