When the email dropped into my inbox, it was hard to believe the horrors it described. Often with our Business Travellers against Human Trafficking campaign we get reports about human trafficking or suspicions that a hotel in India, Dubai, Manila or elsewhere has been used to exploit, rape and destroy the lives of young women whose only mistake was to trust the wrong people with their dreams of a better life. Sometimes the traffickers are their own relatives, sometimes they are “agents” paid more than the victim can ever afford to get them to a job in the city or in another country. The debts they owe are used to keep them enslaved.
This email was different. It was from a hospital in Kuwait, where victims were being treated after horrendous abuse. The police were not interested, and their traffickers were still at large in the community outside the walls of the hospital.
One of the girls had been hired as a domestic servant in Kuwait and then drugged and raped. When she became pregnant, she was thrown out. She has suffered severe mental trauma and is confined to the hospital. She is married, with a two year old back in Indonesia, but cannot go back because of the shame she feels.
Another Indonesian girl, who was also working as a domestic servant, broke both arms and legs when she jumped from a window to escape. She won’t say anything about what happened, other than that her employer was a bad man. She had been in Kuwait for one week. That’s all it took – one week.
Another domestic servant is missing both nipples. Her employer had invited a group of his friends over who gang raped her, her nipples had been bitten off and her body was covered in knife scars.
There were many other cases too. When we tried to get police action, we could make no progress. Even when we tried to get a journalist to cover the story, to put pressure on the police, there was no interest whatsoever. The Indonesian press said they already knew of many such stories.
At Business Travellers against Human Trafficking we are usually able to get police action or local charity organisations to help. It seems that domestic workers are a special category though, one that no one cares about. One thing is certain, the more we bring the cases to light and don’t give up until action is taken, the safer these women will be. The men who did these things are still at liberty, but we won’t give up until the savagery that shows no respect to the dignity and rights of women is a thing of the past.
If you travel regularly, then please become part of Business Travellers against Human Trafficking. If there are people in your community who travel, tell them about the web site. If you own a hotel put up a poster. If we work together we can make it harder for these crimes and the women it affects to go unnoticed.
To help this project grow please donate here.
Our web site is www.businesstravellers.org, and you can join our Facebook group