A couple of months ago, an investigation conducted by a right group based in Yemen, Al-Wethaq, revealed that two years in its post revolution era Yemen is still home to hundreds of slaves.
In all three provinces, slave markets are being operated by human traffickers and smugglers. Most incredibly, deeds of ownership are exchanged between slave traders and the slave owners upon completion of the trade with a price tag running at around $2500 per person at any given moment.
UNHCR wrote in its 2012 report,
“while no official statistics exist detailing this practice, sources report that there could be 300 to 500 men, women, and children sold or inherited as slaves in Yemen, including in the al-Zohrah district of al-Hodeidah Governorate and the Kuaidinah and Khairan al-Muharraq districts of the Hajjah Governorate, north of the capital.”
The idea that “legal papers” are being exchanged is proof slavery in those areas has been standardized.
“Yemen slavery problem is an economic one. People needs to make money, hence traffickers and others, buyers, are looking for cheap labor. The equation is really simple and there is plenty of money to be made on the misery of others,” said Ahmed an activist in Hodeida.
He added that while buyers were often local land owners, many were also acting on behalf of Gulf nationals — Saudi Arabia, Oman, UAE and Qatar – and if some rich families are only buying the slaves to free them later on as an act of charity others will arrange for their smuggling over the border and use them as domestic help or some instances sex workers. A link has been made in between slave trading and prostitution, where women and sadly even children were sold into prostitution abroad.
“Ethiopian and Somali women and children travel voluntarily to Yemen with the hope of working in other Gulf countries, but some are subjected to sex trafficking or domestic servitude in Yemen. Others migrate based on fraudulent offers of employment as domestic servants in Yemen, but upon arrival are subjected to sex trafficking or forced labor. Some female Somali refugees are forced into prostitution in Aden and Lahj governorates, and Yemeni and Saudi gangs traffic African children to Saudi Arabia. Smugglers capitalize on the instability in the Horn of Africa to subject Africans to forced labor and prostitution in Yemen,” read UNHCR 2012 trafficking in person report.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The following documentary video shows the perilous journey made by thousands of Ethiopians to Yemen crossing the Gulf of Aden in search of a better place to live. Most of the time, however, these migrants couldn’t make it as they were forced to be drowned by their heartless smugglers. They will be received by another set of organised traffickers if they happen to reach the shore alive.
According to the UNHCR, around 84,000 Ethiopian migrants entered Yemen in 2012 alone. However, since there are almost none migrants protection spaces provided by the UNHCR for Ethiopian migrants, they are extremely vulnerable and become the preferred target by the traffickers for their thriving Slave and Sex Worker business.
It’s a MUST WATCH heart breaking documentary. We wonder what would it be like being held captive by the merciless and despicable Arab traffickers in the Sinai desert then? O’Lord, have Mercy up on us!