Following reports on The Point Newspaper of four men dragged to court last week charged with trafficking in humans, Fatu Radio has also uncovered a heart wrenching scheme of trafficking in Gambians girls run by some Lebanese men. This reporter was able to speak with a young Gambian girl currently in Lebanon who was trafficked there few months ago. The revelations left us mortified and appalled. The girl (name withheld, so we will call her Miss X for her own security) said she embarked on the trip after her cousin helped secure a Gambian passport for her. The passport was sent to a Lebanese man named Ali who in turn sent a copy of the said passport to Lebanon to process her visa. After waiting for a few weeks, the visa arrived and she was boarded on a flight to Lebanon via Dakar and Addis Ababa.
Upon arrival in Lebanon, Miss X was picked at the airport by Ali, the same man who was alleged to have worked on her visa. She was then escorted to a Western Union Money transfer office, where she was asked to deposit her passport before she was introduced to a man, her new boss. This was when her nightmare started. According to Ms. X, she left three jobs since her arrival and was never paid a dime by her bosses. “We agreed on $175 a month, but I have never received a dime since I started working and nothing was explained to me” She added.
This reporter talked to another Gambian girl brought to Lebanon through the same same and players. According to her, she was paid only once since her arrival in Lebanon six months ago. She disclosed that upon arrival, she was asked to sign a contract for three years during which she cannot travel out of the country. This paper has been reliably informed that three other Gambian girls have been arrested in Lebanon and are currently jailed after attempting to abscond from their bosses due to ill treatment. “We are treated really bad here, my cell phone was seized by my boss for just taking photos in his house. He said I should never take photos in his house and seized my phone” She said. “I am not allowed to sit down for even a minute during my work hours, I clean toilets and do all the odd jobs for my boss and his family” She continued. The source went on to say that they hardly are given food to eat.
Many of the girls are in Lebanon because of worsening economic conditions in The Gambia, where many young people continue to languish without gainful employment after finishing their education. When this fact was put to one of the girls, the source quickly said “Please do not mention my name in your reports, I do not want to be killed by President Jammeh when I return home some day`’. She added that her mum passed away few years ago and she has a brother and a sister to take care of back home. “I looked for a job after finishing school, but I wasn’t lucky, reason why I am in Lebanon” She concluded.
The sad state affairs facing young Gambian girls in the mean time continues.