Thursday, May 23, 2013

Ethiopia Women are also trafficked to Iraq – The CNN Freedom Project

01:24 AM ET

Women trafficked to Iraq

By Atika Shubert, CNN
(CNN) Like so many Indonesian women, Eli Anita wanted to earn more money than she could at home.
In 2007, she moved to Dubai through a labor recruitment company where, she says, her manager immediately began harassing her for sex, at one point becoming violent.
“He got very angry and he also beat me and kidnapped me in the bathroom for many hours. He locked the door,” she says in broken English.
“And he said 'Eli, just obey to me and I will give you everything.' I said, 'I’m sorry. But I came for working. I will not allow anybody to touch my body or anyone working on my body, like this.' Then he asked me, 'What do you want?'  I said I want another job.”
Eli says her employer offered her a new job in Italy, but she didn’t recognize the place.
She told CNN he said, “I will send you to new country, high technology, good country. Kurdistan is a part of Italy.”
For a village girl from Indonesia, Eli says she had no idea about Kurdistan, in northern Iraq, and at that time in the midst of war.
She says she was flown to Erbil airport under the constant watch of labor company chaperones with about a dozen other women from Ethiopia, Indonesia and the Philippines. She says the labor company took her passport.
“All of them don’t know where is Kurdistan.  I’m asking, 'Where is Kurdistan?' Immigration man said: 'Why do you want to go there?' He keep saying in Arabic, 'It’s very dangerous.' But I have no choice because my agency always by my side and watching me. They are afraid I am running away.”
As they passed army checkpoints with U.S. soldiers, Eli says she slowly began to figure out where they were. She finally convinced one of her minders to let her call her Dubai employer.
“So, I call the agency and say, 'You sent me to Iraq when you telling me it’s part of Italia?' He say, 'Eli just keep quiet. I already received $4,500.' So, I knew at that time, they sell me.”
She tried to run away several times. But after days on the street, she was found by labor agency workers, dragged back and, she says, beaten as a punishment.  She describes the incident vividly.
'Because the agency also kidnap me inside the bathroom and hold a gun to my head. 'If you doesn’t stop all your actions and calling your government, I will kill you.'"
But the feisty Eli says she refused to back down in the face of their threat.
“If you want to kill me, shoot me right now,"  she remembers telling them. “But if you kill me, you send my body back home.  If not I will wake up again! They said 'you are crazy,' majnoon in Arabic.  I said, yes, I’m majnoon because of you!”
Eli finally escaped by secretly contacting the International Labour Organization. They brokered her release from the labor agency and transported her home to Indonesia.
CNN confronted the man that Eli says sold her, trafficking her from Dubai to Iraq.  He refused to talk to us or give us his side of the story.
Eli now works with Migrant Care in Jakarta, Indonesia where she shares her experience with other would-be migrants workers as a cautionary tale.

No comments:

Post a Comment