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Domestic Workers are Sold Online via Mobile Apps in Kuwait


Kuwait authorities “claimed” to have an arrest issued on people who are involved in a slave-trade that has been happening in the social media using apps called 4sale and others owned by Instagram and Facebook. This human rights violation is evidently being approved by the companies Google and Apple which apparently allows advertisements for the sale of these women, including minors, as slave domestic helpers in Kuwait. Most of these women didn’t have the idea that they are being advertised online via these apps and that they are being sold as slaves. 


The action taken was based on an investigation published by the BBC media company last November of 2019 through the effort of an undercover team posed as husband and wife looking for so-called diligent slave maids to buy on social media. This alarming incident has been tagged as “online slave market” which enables the selling of young women or children from the developing regions such as Africa, Nepal, and the Philippines. In addition to the defilement, these young women are treated horribly by their employers who are also selling them by inflicting verbal and physical abuse and by denying them to have holidays from work. 

Meanwhile, the United Nations officials are now taking actions to stop this sinister slave trade of domestic maids, stressing that these tech companies should be held responsible for this heinous crime happening on their platforms. According to UN representative focusing on modern slavery named Urmila Bhoola: 

“This is the quintessential example of modern slavery. Here we see a child being sold and traded like chattel, like a piece of property. Google, Apple, Facebook, or any other companies that are hosting apps like these, they have to be held accountable.”

One of the girls who are being sold on this online slave trade was named Fatou who is from Guinea, West Africa. She was set to be sold for a price of $3,800 dollars in an exchange for “unlimited” service. It was also said by one of the “suspects”, who claimed to be a policeman, in an online conversation that these young women can be easily abused because they are “uneducated” and that the buyer need not to worry because they don’t know so much about gadgets for communication such as mobile phone. When asked if this doesn’t violate the law, he just simply said, “We don’t follow the law”. He also instructed the BBC team to “deny the victim’s access to passport”. 

The BBC investigation discovered that there are thousands of these women being sold as slaves online using these software apps. Upon calling to one of the online sellers at 4Sale, the BBC team confirmed the ads and was told:

“Yes, she’s been with us for a month and a half, she’s very good and smiley. She never demands anything, she’s polite. I swear she’s always good natured. ” 

In the meantime, there are no reports yet that the suspects involved in the selling have been arrested.