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O País (File photo)
We’ll call him Artur, to protect his identity. He left Inhambane for Maputo to earn money to continue studying. When he arrived in the big city, he expected a better life. Every week he was able to save a hundred meticais for his small project. Time passed, until one day two young men, apparently of good character, offered him a job that would pay ten times more than he earned.
His imagination sprang to life, filling his mind’s eyes with illusions that seemed the right path. But fate had betrayed him. The prospect of having a job had delivered him into the hands of traffickers, that dream the first step into a living nightmare.
Artur was taken to Ressano Garcia border along with three other young people, who also dreamed of a promising future. But in a short time, he was in the Land of the Rand clandestinely, and torture was his only welcome.
The group of men who promised dreams delivered only nightmares. They violated him, leaving scars his body will carry for the rest of his life. His right index finger was cut with a knife and you can still see a scar on his foot where the evildoers tried to cut it off, but he resisted and they gave up.
“I was tortured. The beatings I took, I hope I’ll never feel them again in my life. That was terrible. It was meant to be a job, but it only brought me marks that I will not forget for the rest of my life,” he said, with furrowed browed, as if feeling the same pain yet again.
Artur was rescued and was able to return to Mozambique. The dream, in fact, the nightmare of the promising South Africa was behind him. His job-to-be was, in fact, to be trafficked for organ harvesting.
Although abolished in 1836, slavery persists in contemporary societies in various forms of exploitation. Some call it 21st century slavery, others modern slavery. Here, there are lives that no one dreams of. Women, children and men are the target of a network where everything is sold and everything is bought. False promises make future “slaves.”
Demand makes the offer; sexual exploitation, forced labor, forced begging, organ sales make the circuit. The victim profile, according to the Episcopal Commission for Migrants, Refugees and Displaced Persons (Cemirde), is one of vulnerable people deprived of basic means of subsistence and in search of better living conditions.
Women and teenagers fuel the trafficking industry
Catarina and Joana (fictitious names), aged 14 and 17 respectively, also fell into the trafficking networks. The two teenagers were betrayed by a cousin. Their nightmare began at home, where their cousin deluged them with promises: of a job in South Africa, guaranteed housing and salary. Vulnerable and in need for money, one of the girls is bedazzled by the promises and takes her friend along.
“She (human trafficker) said that I would to go to work in South Africa as a maid and babysitter. I accepted because I wanted money to study during the day, since my grandfather does not work and does not have the money to pay for me,” the child says.
But at the end of the day, the promises were empty. The trafficker sent off with her cousin and her cousin’s friend to Boane district, Mahau, 45 kilometers from Maputo. They were to be taken across the Swaziland border first, then illegally into neighbouring South Africa. There, they were to be sold into prostitution for R5,000 apiece.
Fortunately, the intervention of the Mozambique police scuppered the scheme, which almost certainly promised nothing but a bitter future for the minors.
But this is how more and more young people fall into the trafficking network of so-called modern slavery.Source: O País
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