There are an estimated 10,000 people living in modern slavery in Lebanon (GSI 2018). Men, women, and children among the estimated 1.3 million Syrian refugees in Lebanon are at high risk of sex trafficking and forced labour. There are some restrictions on Syrians’ ability to work legally in Lebanon and the enforcement of visas and residence permit laws increase this population’s vulnerability to trafficking. Syrians are commonly involved in the exploitation of other Syrians in Lebanon, particularly targeting refugees fleeing the conflict. Syrian children are reportedly vulnerable to forced early marriages—which can lead to commercial sexual exploitation and forced labour—and children displaced within the country continue to be subjected to forced labour, particularly by organized begging rings.
Miracle left Nigeria after meeting someone who promised to help her find a job in Europe. On the way she found out she was pregnant and her smuggler attempted to force her to abort the pregnancy. When she arrived in Libya, Miracle and the other girls were locked up and sold to a Madam to be forced into prostitution. However, because Miracle was pregnant, she could not be sold. She spent two months locked inside a room before being taken to boat to cross over to Europe. When she arrived in Europe, she found that she had been deceived by promises of work.
Why I left Nigeria? Life wasn’t easy for me. So what about yours, how was your trip?
I met somebody who promised to help me. We started the journey and he told me not to worry. On the road I found out I was pregnant. He told me I shouldn’t give birth, I should abort. I then asked him why I should do that. Then the smuggler took me to a house and beat me, saying I must abort it. He gave me a drug to take. I drank it, it didn’t work and he started beating me. I told him I will not abort my baby. We reached Agadez (Niger). The journey wasn’t easy, they beat me a lot and I didn’t know why.
It wasn’t easy for me with my pregnancy in Agadez. They told me we were going to Dirkou. They told us to stay on the alert. We spent over a week there. I didn’t leave the house. They locked us up in one room and if you went out, you’d have a problem. When we got to Dirkou, our food was finished. We had to manage with what little we had and it wasn’t easy. There was no water. We had to drink urine and water mixed with petrol on our way from Dirkou to Libya. I was vomiting and there was nobody to help me. People died on the road they left them there.
When we got to Libya, they locked us up and wanted to sell us to a Madam. The Madam used us to earn money. She traded us one by one as prostitutes in order to make money. Because I was pregnant, they couldn’t sell me. I spent two months inside that room before we crossed. I didn’t go anywhere. I had nothing to do. That was my situation when I got to Libya. I don’t how it was for you?
They took us to the seaside. When we got there we had to hide in the bushes by the seaside. If you’re caught, you’ll be taken to prison and you’ll suffer. You'll have to pay to bail yourself out from their prison. I suffered that day before I was told I could cross. We were about 150 inside a small boat. Soon there was no water, it was finished, everything was finished in the boat.
There was nothing to eat, no fuel, no water, nothing to drink. We spent four days inside the boat. We reached Malta. They rescued us but it was not an easy journey. People die every day in the sea. The boats are full and people drown with nobody to rescue them. This is not for Nigerians alone but the whole of Africa. All Africans must be very careful and think well before they do this.
Nothing is easy on that road. Whether you’re traveling with a man or not, it’s not easy. You're on your own. There is no sister or brother there. Everybody is on their own.
As for Europe, they deceive people and say you can find work there. But it’s a lie, the only work here is prostitution.
Original Narrative can be found at https://www.tellingtherealstory.org/pcm/stories/video/miracle-zeinabs-story/