Recalling my stay in Lebanon: ‘I didn’t sign up for this’

When an individual leaves their origin country to go abroad, they visualize a better life for themselves and their loved ones. However not every travel abroad is a silver platter, when the migrant workers arrive in their destination countries, the situation turns into a nightmare. The following is the story of Carol*, who was a migrant worker in Lebanon and was lucky to be repatriated by CHTEA and other partner organizations.

‘The most horrifying thing that I will never forget during my working experience is that I was molested and assaulted. I was chained and raped by my employer. I was very scared after the threats that he gave me and I had no choice but to escape from that house and found help from the police and the Kenyan Embassy. While I was stranded on the streets, I saw a taxi coming and I stopped it. I requested the driver to take me to the Kenyan Embassy. Fortunately, there was a Kenyan lady inside the taxi and she asked me in Kiswahili “Una shida gani dadangu?” (Translated as “what is the problem, my sister?”). I was like, “Thank God”, for the first time I found a sister from my own country. This kind lady told me that she had also escaped from her employer and she was now living in her own house. I told her my story and afterward, she agreed to accommodate me.

The next day, she accompanied me to the Embassy but I was not assisted. There were no flights operating due to the COVID-19 pandemic. After some time, I missed my monthly menstrual period so I decided to buy the pregnancy test kit and after testing myself, I got the shock of my life to realize that I was pregnant. I informed the lady who was accommodating me and who in turn insisted that I should look for a job, which I did. Eventually, I moved out and rented my own apartment even though my aim was to go back home at the earliest opportunity (Kenya). I decided to share my story with my mother who was extremely shocked but advised me not to stop going to the Embassy to know if there were any changes with the flights.

“With time, I was heavily pregnant and I could not even get the part-time jobs that I used to survive on. I thank God because, at the 11th hour, the flights became operational once again. My parents had to sell a portion of our land so as to get money to buy me a flight ticket. I traveled back to Kenya only 2 days before giving birth. Upon arrival, I was rushed to the hospital the same night after my water broke.  The next day, I delivered a male baby boy (“a product” of rape) - A son who fully resembled the ‘rapist’. The more he stared at me while breastfeeding, the more I despised him because he reminded me of the horrible experience that I went through.”

When Carol* finally visited CHTEA’s office, she was contemplating suicide. She indeed wanted to first kill ‘the rape-boy’ and end her life. As fate would have it, Carol* started post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) therapy sessions through the CHTEA-run in-house shelter which encouraged her to move on with her life. The support towards this survivor (and 75 others) was through a humble individual donation.

While leaving the shelter later last year, Carol said the following:

“We are deeply grateful for your support and the donors who have enabled us to be rehabilitated and restored; creating new hope and lives of distressed migrant workers and victims of human trafficking”.

Click here to donate

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