FJA 2020 Shortlist
Category: Outstanding Investigative Reporting
Vision reporter (The New Vision)
Undercover as a Slave
Undercover journalist sold into slavery in Dubai - Part 1
April 10, 2020
The original publication is available via the following link: https://www.newvision.co.ug/news/1517775/undercover-journalist-sold-slave-dubai
By Vision Reporter
I had never imagined the real shock of slave trade in the modern world. The irony of it all is that girls are trafficked at their own cost.
KAMPALA - The promise of good jobs and better wages baits many women into investing in travelling to the Middle East to work. Because some get lucky and return with money, many Ugandans pay for job placements in the Middle East, and end up being trafficked as slaves and sex workers.
Our brave reporter made the journey into the world of human trafficking and ended up spending a month in slavery. She narrates her ordeal.
I had interacted with labour exporting companies for some time and was aware of the risks Ugandans go through travelling abroad to do odd jobs. But I had never imagined the real shock that slave trade in the modern world is. The irony of it all is that girls are trafficked at their own cost.
They pay for respectable jobs and discover on arrival at their destinations that there are none. By that time, they are helpless, unable to save themselves and resort to being used as slaves or sex workers until they are able to buy themselves out or escape.
It is easy to imagine how disappointing, but not how scary it can be when you are the slave, in a home you do not know, cannot locate and unsure if you will come out alive to tell the story.
My story starts on January 7, 2020 when I stumble on a Facebook comment by a lady who goes by the identity "Monica the Proud Mukiga".
From our protracted interactions, I get the idea that I can pretend I want to work abroad so that I get trafficked and get first-hand information for our readers.
I have no idea the extremes to which the experience will stretch my nerves and almost cost me my life.
Undercover as a slave Part 2: Journalist in the dark of Dubai
We rest our bags and start crying, at ago. Everyone is openly wailing and calling upon God or Allah for help. Two girls fling themselves down and roll in tears. What a hell! What a fall from the height of expectation!
A Vision journalist got in touch with traffickers who smuggle people to work in the Middle East on promises of high paying jobs. They smuggled her through Entebbe Airport. Will Dubai become the ‘Promised Land'? Today, Sunday Vision continues with the story of flying into Dubai
THERE is nothing impossible in Uganda. The way I beat the airport system that should have stopped me from travelling to Dubai, on a flimsy reason, with a fake visa and without documents for the journey, is baffling. It cost me sh500,000.
On January 22, I checked in through immigration at Entebbe Airport into the boarding area on a fake identity, being trafficked to Dubai to work as a housemaid.
Undercover journalist sold as a slave in Dubai - Part 3
April 21, 2020
The original publication is available via the following link: https://www.newvision.co.ug/news/1518078/undercover-journalist-sold-slave-dubai
By Vision Reporter
Girls must know that if they are going to work abroad, there is an equal risk of death and life; earning or failing to get money.
A Vision journalist got in touch with traffickers who smuggle people to work in the Middle East, on promises of high paying jobs. They smuggled her to Dubai with promises of a lucrative job. On arrival, she ended up in an agent's holding cell. The story, which started last weekend, continues with the fall from hope to despair.
With permission and safety assurances from my bosses at New Vision, I venture into being trafficked into Dubai. We expect to find our employers waiting for us at the airport but, instead, we are rounded up by a dreadlocked man, who confiscates our passports before driving us into an apartment in town where Sara lives.There, we are all ‘imprisoned' in a small room by Sara, who tells us we belong to her. She gives us two options for our freedom: To pay back her 4,000 dirhams (the equivalent of about sh4m) she spent on our tickets and visa, or to wait and be sold to work so that she can recoup her investment.
We all do not have money. So, we brace for the worst: Slavery or sex work.
When reality dawns on us, we wail, curse and pray, until Sara, the agent, storms into our prison room and scolds us for what she calls a stupid drama.
"Shut up! You all belong to me! I decide what you do and what you don't," she says.
Girls explode in her face and almost beat her up. They all talk at once, asking different questions at ago that she cannot make out one to respond to. She gestures that we stop the noise and calm down. Her tough stance also changes to a calmer, negotiating voice.
Undercover as a slave Part 4: Journalist taken to slave market
By Vision Reporter
One market is labelled Al Wadad Labour Recruitment and the other, Qortaj Labour Recruitment. The markets are close to each other in the municipality of Ajman, opposite Ajman Post Office after Sharjah on the way from the airport.
A Sunday Vision journalist got in touch with traffickers who smuggled her to Dubai on promises of a high paying job. She ended up in an agent's holding cell, from where she was taken to a slave market.
I thank God that I was able to do this story and return to Uganda alive. Once I got clearance from New Vision, I volunteered to be trafficked into Dubai, penetrating the security of Entebbe Airport with irregularly acquired visa, only to end up in an agent's prison cell.
Her name was Sara. She made it clear that to regain our freedom, we had to be sold off to employers or refund the money she used to ‘buy' us — the money she paid for our visas and tickets. She sells a few online, the rest of us have to wait for the slave market.