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My first trip to Dubai landed me in the hands of an illegal slave cartel. Through the rough edges of life, I still thrive.

Atim

It all started six months after I lost my small boutique business around Mini Price in Kampala. The business had shockingly come to an end after I had failed to pay all the rent needed coupled with the numerous loans I had got to fund the business. With no job, no business, no house rent and no one to go to, I was left with no option but to start looking for those I called friends for help.

Being a lady is hard. One time, some guy called me to his house claiming he would give me 900,000 only for him to sleep with me all night and when morning came, he gave me only 20,000 as transport back. I regret that day. The guy forced himself on me, slapped me when I refused and kept on promising to not give me the money if I never accepted. That was never the deal. He had promised to just give me money and I go back, which never happened.

Crying, shaking and worried, I visited the hospital with that 20,000, bought postinor because I was so afraid to get pregnant for such a stupid man. After about 3 months of starving & eating off left overs in Kampala’s tiny restaurants in exchange for washing clothes, I got lucky.

A company needed girls who could work as house maids in Dubai. All that was needed was our willingness. No money, nothing. Desperate and agonised, I expressed my interest upon which my passport, visa and work permit were quickly processed. The travel day was set, and it was time to leave Uganda. In my mind, I just wanted to leave Uganda. Until one day to travel, when the man behind that company requested to first sleep with me.

As the day to fly to Dubai came closer, the pressure from this CEO of the said company started to pile on me. In his words, I was better of admitting to his sex demands or I forget my travel. It seems though, he had sensed some desperacy in me. He had heard my story and knew how badly I wanted to leave Uganda.

To imagine that a man who knew that much about me, and yet still wanted to take further advantage of me was rather pathetic. How inhuman would someone be? Finally, he got his chance. He called me to his house and claimed I go pick my passport with visa, since I would need it for my travel. That day, I visited his apartment in Naalya, a well furnished apartment with a very nice compound.

As I walked in, I wondered how many more girls had visited his apartment, and how many like me he had taken advantage of, all in the guise of helping them work abroad. Something in me had changed. I no longer felt human. And just like I had expected, he indeed started putting his filthy hands onto me. As he got downwards to my Kisenyi swamp, he could not help but feel a terrible smell from there. I had intentionally spent 2 days without washing it, so that the day he opens my skirt, the bad smell would automatically chase him away. Indeed, this worked. He threw my passport at me and begged me to quickly leave his house.

All went well, I arrived in Dubai in the morning at around 10am. I got picked by a mean looking Arab man who quickly directed me to a waiting van. You know these vans like the ones that used to arrest Besigye during walk to work. My heart skipped! Was I going to be killed, or this was some gang ready to take my body organs? The man was so mean that he never said hi. He never greeted and he never even tried to confirm if I was indeed the person he was picking.

He never even asked for anything besides getting my passport, putting in his pocket and ordering/commanding me to enter the back of the black tinted van. Inside the van, I met two other African girls. As we tried to talk, he ordered us to remain silent from his passenger seat. The two girls looked very frightened which got me so frightened as well. We drove for like 1hr, when he stopped and asked us to hand over everything we had, especially our phones. Remember he had our passports.

Then he drove for another 2hrs. The more he drove, the more it got hot inside the van, prolly because Dubai is a dessert. Suddenly, we stopped at something that looked like a warehouse where we were told we were to be subjected to a health examination which included us removing all our clothes and remaining completely naked. Inside the warehouse looked like a torture chamber I had seen in Vietnam based movies. I had no idea that real trouble was just starting.

To be continued……..


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CB Reporter

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