CLEVELAND: A domestic worker has accused a Kuwaiti family of human trafficking in the United States. The worker, from Gambia, escaped from her employers’ apartment in Cleveland, Ohio, after calling a human trafficking advocate and the police. The woman, whose name has not been released, told police that she had been sold to a family in Kuwait, held captive for four years and then brought to America to take care of the family’s elderly relative, according to local police reports.


That family had traveled to Cleveland on Aug 12, 2019 so the elderly woman could receive treatment at Cleveland Clinic, says a report posted on Cleveland.com, quoting police reports. The family allegedly locked the woman in an apartment in Cleveland for two months, according to her statements to police. She also told officers that the family would lock her in a bedroom in the apartment when they left, and did not allow her to talk to anyone when they were in public.


After escaping, the woman called a friend, who helped her report her case to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, and then to police. Cleveland police went to the apartment where the woman said she was held and found nothing inside, but noted the apartment smelled of hookah.


Cleveland police contacted the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center, which helped find the woman a temporary place to live. Officers said while they were taking her to that location, she started receiving several calls from the family, local news websites reported. The woman also told police she feared for her life, and that she would be killed if she was returned to the family from Kuwait or her family in Africa. Investigations are ongoing in the case.