Between January and March, O.U.R. and its regional partners are honored to have helped repatriate 34 migrant domestic workers from the Mediterranean who have been exploited and trafficked on the job, and support their journeys back to their home countries in West Africa.
Many women travel from Africa to the Mediterranean in search of employment opportunities, and unfortunately, upon arrival, find these agencies are false. The “employers” take the workers’ phones and documentation and begin the dark cycle of exploitation. There is a mixture of labor trafficking that often also includes sexual exploitation.
If the women are able to escape, they risk the vulnerability of being identified by local law enforcement and falsely imprisoned for not having personal documentation. Oftentimes, their employer will accuse them of stealing, and having false criminal charges placed against them as well. Once they are in prison, however, O.U.R. can step in and provide all of the services needed in order to facilitate their freedom.
One of O.U.R.’s full-time contractors in the Mediterranean helps organize and facilitate the paperwork necessary to get the women out of prison. Once the negotiations have been finalized with local law enforcement and the court, O.U.R. purchases the survivors’ flights home to freedom.
Before arriving, O.U.R. aftercare has arranged with a local partner to meet them at the airport. They provide transportation and organize aftercare services and vocational training for them as needed.
In one of the West African countries, donations have helped fund a new aftercare program run by O.U.R.’s partners, to support these women as they return home.
O.U.R. is grateful to have repatriated 34 survivors from the Mediterranean back to their homes in Africa, and the team will be nearby to offer any additional support to the survivors as they heal and integrate back into life at home.