African Migration

Stranded Migrants Support

The Institute in 2019, following a two year investigation by a Founding Fellow, supported two Ghanaian women lured into servitude in Egypt to return home. The two both from Ashanti Region had been deceived into signing up for domestic work in the North African country, only to be slapped with a cost of five thousand dollars they needed to pay before they could save money for themselves or remit to their families back home. 

The first, Alberta, arrived at the Kotoka International Airport on November 20, 2019, after a long period of illness had made it impossible for her to work to offset the cost of her trip. But her slave Mistress was unwilling to release her passport to enable her return home because according to her, if she left, her investment in her would have been a complete loss. Alberta had been invalid for weeks and had been abandoned by the same mistress, accusing her of being lazy and refusing her both food and medication.

Through the intervention of a Ghanaian diplomat in Cairo, the Ghana Embassy in Cairo invited the women involved in the trafficking of women and insisted that Alberta’s passport be released to her in order for her to return home. After an initial hesitation, the warning by Embassy officials to hand them over to security agencies led to compliance. The Embassy warned that if Alberta’s passport was not released to her, Egyptian State Security would be invoked. This resulted in the release of Alberta’s travel document to her, to enable her return home. 

In a media interview in Accra on the day of her arrival, Alberta was livid and insisted she wanted to talk to the President of Ghana to intervene to prevent other unsuspecting women from being victims of trafficking to Egypt. She was emaciated and had aged suddenly due to ill-health. Though she had been in Egypt for barely a year, her parents had to pay her way back home from Egypt, while she spent all the money she had to pay for overstay on her visa.

Alberta Boateng was convinced that the trip she embarked upon was fruitless and unnecessarily stressful. She wants other young people to desist from falling prey to any such ploy to travel to the Middle East and North Africa, to improve their economic circumstances.

Theresa, a mother of three, who was a boutique attendant in Ashanti was the other victim. Her case became known to the Institute, when the Fellow visited Egypt in December 2018. She had complained to her live-in Mistress about the circumstances under which she was taken to Egypt and how 5000 mentioned to her in Ghana before departure suddenly became 5,000 dollars. Theresa constantly complained about being lured into servitude without the full details of the full cost of her trip. 

According to her, a friend once mentioned that her sister worked in Egypt, through someone they knew and the person was recruiting interested individuals to go and work in Cairo. She expressed interest and was soon put in touch with the trafficker in Egypt, who linked her up with a local agent to process her for the trip.