A domestic worker from Gambia has accused a Kuwaiti family of human trafficking in the United States. This story may seem interesting as news, but is not necessarily the whole truth, so we should not rush into conclusions. I believe this is a serious allegation and I really hope that it will be investigated in a fair and unbiased manner, because justice is a fine line here.
Unfortunately, this incident can be seen by some people as an Arab family abusing a poor woman for years. Now, according to headlines, news channels and police reports, the worker ran away from her employers’ apartment in Cleveland, Ohio, after calling a human trafficking advocate and the local police. She told the 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.
The Kuwaiti family traveled to Cleveland in Aug 2019 for medical treatment for the old woman of the family. The worker told the police that the family locked her up in the apartment and did not allow her to talk to anyone when they were in public.
I absolutely reject human trafficking, as for me it is a crime against humanity and dignity. But I also cannot take any accusation of such kind as pure truth without going in depth over the circumstances and the alleged victim’s statements, regardless of their origin or nationality.
In fact, three terms ring bells in my head – sold, captive and travelling to the US with the family! I wonder about her health and mental condition. I would assume if a person was in a captive state – meaning jailed or held against their will – for years, their physical condition would be bad.
So, after four years, she was given the opportunity to travel to the US to do her job – which is taking care of en elderly woman – after getting a visa. If I was jailed against my will, I would use any chance to ask for help instead of waiting to reach the US and calling a friend to contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline and then the police. I guess nowadays when an Arab family gets into such trouble, it is a good story in the media with prejudgment by the public.
Honesty, I blame the families who take their workers with them abroad, because they think they need someone to help them all the time. This total dependence on labor leads to problems either in Kuwait or abroad. I wish families pay more attention to the worker’s situation, because they come from faraway countries and it is easy to influence them. This incident should be a warning.
By Muna Al-Fuzai