When Ssoko watched his mom board a flight from Kampala, Uganda, to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) earlier this year, he hoped her new job as a domestic worker would lift them out of poverty and change their family’s future.
But after a few months, Ssoko’s mom’s text messages and calls suddenly stopped. At first, he chalked it up to her being busy at work or unpredictable internet. When the silence stretched from days to weeks, he began to worry and didn’t know what to do.
In July this year, Ssoko joined a webinar about human trafficking organized by Willow. During the meeting, he shared his mother’s story. This raised a red flag for Willow’s team, who immediately launched into action, contacting a partner organization in the UAE.
It wasn’t long before Ssoko’s mother was found. She had been trafficked and forced to work in unimaginable conditions. The moment she arrived at her new job, her employer confiscated her passport and visa. She was not paid her promised salary. And when she made a mistake, she was severely beaten. After a few months, they kicked her out of the house leaving her badly injured, destitute, and with no support.
Together, Willow and its partners were able to intervene quickly. In just one week, they located Ssoko’s mother, helped her exit exploitation, and repatriated her back home to her children. She is now safely in Willow’s care, healing from trauma and starting to rebuild her life.
“You don’t know how much you have supported us,” said Ssoko. “Thank you so much. My mom is safe and doing well, and I am so happy she is alive.”
These timely and critical interventions for survivors are only made possible because of the support and dedication of donors and partners.