The women were promised good jobs in the Arabian peninsula. Instead, they fell into the clutches of unscrupulous smugglers. Police in Burundi have now freed more than 100 enslaved women.

Police have released about 100 young women and girls in the East African state of Burundi. According to authorities, they were detained there for two weeks, only to be kidnapped at the earliest opportunity to Arab countries such as Saudi Arabia or Qatar. The building was located in Ntahangwa, a suburb of the former capital Bujumbura.

“When they arrived, police found 101 women and girls in appalling conditions,” deputy police spokesman Moise Nkurunziza told the German news agency on Tuesday. They have been deprived of all freedoms. Two people were arrested.

Police say the building that had been stormed the day before had been rented by a company that supposedly wanted to run it as a cooking school. According to Nkurunziza, it has several bases in Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda. The company is now being investigated for illegal human trafficking.

Many women and girls ended up in prostitution

Many girls from poor backgrounds left their families behind after the people smugglers made false promises. “They promise them better jobs in Arab countries, but eventually they face sexual and economic exploitation or organ trafficking in the Arabian Peninsula,” said David Ninganza of the local relief organization SOJPAE (Solidarity of Christian Youth for Peace and Childhood).

Many of the girls and women who were smuggled out of the country in this way ended up in prostitution or abused as maids. The International Organization for Migration (IMO) concluded an agreement with the authorities of the country at the end of 2019 to stop human trafficking, which is financially supported by the Netherlands.

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