In 2014, I hoped to find a job abroad, but I was deceived and ended up working as a domestic worker. I returned in 2015, after seven months of forced labor. I did not say a word about my experience until I survived and could finally return home.
When I came back, I faced stigma and discrimination, and it was very difficult to be accepted back into society. I thought it was the end of the world, but I was quickly able to support myself and retrace my steps to become the empowered person I am today. I wanted to return to society, with or without being accepted. I also wanted to achieve my goals and fulfil my dreams that I left behind when I went abroad.
Sharing my story across different platforms has made me the better person I am today. Joining the Migrants as Messengers (MaM) team has had a great impact on my life. I have become an ambassador for change and a role model for those who feel inspired by my story. At the same time, I can finally feel comfortable sharing my story and raising awareness about human trafficking. The MaM network is the best chance I have to ensure that the message I want to share is reached by the people I expect to reach. Our voices must be heard in every corner of the country, because human trafficking is real.
As a survivor of human trafficking, coming out on this special day and sharing my story is a great thing. I invite all fellow Gambians who have been trafficked but who have not yet had the courage to share their stories, to stand up and be the people we were before we left the country. It is not the end of the world. There are many things we can do for ourselves and for others.
I think all survivors of human trafficking should be celebrated or commemorated on World Day Against Trafficking in Persons. This is our day.