Arranged marriages are the norm in many countries.
Often women are betrothed to men they have never met, who may be many years older than them.
Sometimes they live in different countries. Should you be chosen for a man living in a country overseas, you become very vulnerable. You do not speak the language of your new country, you have no family or friends nor means of employment and hence are at the complete mercy of your husband.
Sometimes the marriage is fairy tale, sometimes it is not. Sometimes, your ‘husband’ is cruel and harsh, sometimes instead of loving and caring for you, you become a meal ticket for him which he can sell time and time again for his own benefit. Unfortunately, we live in a world where the latter happens.
Four women were coming to South Africa in May to meet their husbands for the very first time. But luckily for them we had a team of people at the border. These monitors are trained to identify red flags, investigate stories, validate travel plans and assess whether the traveller might be at risk.
Amongst many lies and inconsistencies we saw a modus operandi emerging and the veil of deception being lifted. The travellers were not coming to get married but were likely going to end up in a life of slavery with little hope of being released.
Our team educated them on trafficking, what it looks like, how it happens and how they can avoid it in future and then we sent them home, where they can forge a new future of hope and life.