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Story Publication logo April 21, 2024

Finding Freedom: Breaking the Bonds of Human Trafficking

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Women trafficked from Africa to the Middle East secretly recorded their experiences in slavery.

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Multiple Authors

Mary Kajumba needed money to make a better life for her daughter. So, with the help of a placement agency, she left her home in Uganda and went to Iraq, where she got a job as a restaurant cleaner. It wasn’t long after she realised she was in trouble. Mary says she found herself working 18 hour days, sharing cramped accommodation with 30 other workers and never getting paid. 

But then, help came from an unexpected place. Voice memos, from a man in Vancouver who was working for an anti trafficking organisation. 

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This week on Storylines, freelance journalist Jazzmin Jiwa brings us Mary’s story. We follow Mary as she tries to break free from the shackles of human trafficking and forced labour with the help of an NGO. 

Stories like Mary’s can be found across the Middle East, where workers from sub-Saharan Africa are trafficked, transported, threatened and forced to work for little to no wages. They find themselves working as cleaners and domestic servants, after landing jobs through recruitment agencies that don’t ask many questions about working conditions.

Reported by Jazzmin Jiwa. Produced by John Chipman. Story Editing by Julia Pagel and Liz Hoath. This documentary was supported by the Pulitzer Center.



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