Maids for Sale: Silicon Valley Internet Slave Market

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Di internet app wey dey promote Online Slave Market

If you drive round di street of Kuwait you go see dis women. Dem lock dem inside house, dem no get any right, dem no fit leave and di main risk be say dem fit sell dem to who fit pay moni pass.

But if you check smart fone you go see thousands of dia foto, wia dem from come and dem dey for sale for some thousands of dollars.

Di undercover investigate wey BBC News Arabic do show say dem dey buy some house helps illegally come sell dem online for correct black market through apps wey dey Google Play and Apple App Stores, dem dey also boost dia hashtags through Facebook and Instagram.

Slave market

"Wetin dem dey do dey promote online slave market," na so Urmila Bhoola, di UN special Rapporteur for contemporary forms of slavery tok. "If Google, pple Facebook or any oda company dey allow apps like dis, dem suppose ask dem question."

Nine out of ten families for Kuwiat get house help - dem dey come from di poorest parts of di world go Asia, dia target na to make enough moni to support dia family for home.

Image example UN Special Rapporteur Urmila Bhoola calls it an online slave market

BBC Arabic undercover tori pipo wey bin pose as couple wey just new enta Kuwait speak to 57 pippo wey dey use app, dem also visit more dan twelve pipo wey dey try sell house help give dem through di popular app wey dem dey call "4Sale."

Almost all di sellers want make dem seize do women passports and no allow dem use phone.

Di 4Sale app fit allow you choose wia di woman from come wit different prices according to dia category.

Di undercover team bin mostly hear dem say tins like, "Indians na di dirtiest," to use decribe di women.

Human rights abuse

Di app users wey call demsef di 'owners' of dis women, tell di team of undercover tori pipo say, make dem deny dem dia oda rights like to give dem one "day or minute or second" off.

One policeman wey bin dey look for how to offload im worker say: "Trust me she dey very nice, she dey laff and get smilely face. Even if she work reach 5am she no go complain."

He tell BBC team how dem dey use house helps like property. "You fit see pesin wey buy maid for $2,000 and sell am for $3,300.

Image example BBC News Arabic team recorded conversations with sellers of domestic workers in Kuwait

He give di buyers expo: Di passport, no give am to her. Na you dey sponsor her. Why you go give her her pasport?"

For one shocking case, dem bring one girl for BBC team to buy wey dem dey call 'Fatou', she dey 16 years old.

Dem bin traffick her from Guinea for West Africa and she don dey work as maid for Kuwait for six months even though di law of di kontri say house helps must pass 21 years.

Part of di marketing yan wey her sellers yan include di fact say she no dey give Fatou time for off, she seize her passport and fone and she no allow her leave di house alone - all of dis dey illegal for Kuwait.

Sponsor permission

"Dis na di ogbonge example of modern day slavery," Urmila Bhoola tok. "Here wey dey see dem dey buy and sell small pikin dem like say dem be personal property."

For most places for di Gulf, na agency dem dey cari hoause helps enta di kontri den dem go officially register dem wit di goment.

Pipo wey wan employ dem go pay di agency moni den become di official sponsore for di house help.

Inside dis system wey dem dey call "Kafala" system, di house help no go fit change or leave di work or leave di kontri witout di sponsor permission.

Image example Thousands of women are available for sale as domestic workers via apps in the Middle East in an illegal online slave market

One 2015 law make Kuwait one of di most strictest kontri for di Gulf for di protection of house helps. But di law no dey popular wit evribodi.

Apps like 4Sale dey allow employers sell dia dia sponsorship of dia house help to oda employers for profit. Dis one dey knock out di agency and create black market wey dem make am easy to abuse and exploit di women.

No be only for Kuwait dis online slave market dey happun.

For Saudi Arabia, di investigate find out say dem dey sell women for Haraj andoda popular app wia dem dey sell tins. Hundreds dey for Instagram wey Facebook be di owner.

"Na real hell"

Di BBC team travel go Guinea to try find Fatou family, di pikin wey dem bin discover say dem wan sell for Kuwait.

Evri year dem dey traffick hundreds of women from here go Gulf to do house maid.

"Kuwait na really hell," na so one former maid wey remember how di woman wey employ her make her sleep fro di same place wit cows tok. "Kuwait houses dey very bad," anoda one tok. "No sleep, no food, notin."

Image example The BBC team has followed Fatou back to her home in Conakry, the capital of Guinea

Kuwait authorities find Fatou cari her go di emergency house wey goment provide for house helps. Two days later dem deport her back to Guinea sake of she be small pikin.

She tell BBC: Dem use to on top my head, call me animal. E dey painful, e make me sad, but notin wey i fit do."

Now she don return to school for Conakry, she tell BBC team wey visit her say, "I happy no be small. Even now, as i dey talk about am, i still happy. My life beta now. I feel like i just dey come back from slavery.

Dem remove Hashtag

Di Kuwait goment say e "dey do war wit dis kain behaviour" come tok say dem go "heavily scrutinise" di app.

Till today dem neva take any action and no legal action against di woman wey try to sell Fatou. Di seller neva ansa BBC request to make comment.

Since BBC team contact di apps and di tech company about wetin dem discover, 4Sale don remove di domestic worker section and Facebook don ban di hashtag "خادمات للتنازل#" "#maidsfortransfer."

Saudi app Haraj still neva comment.

Google and Apple tell BBC say dis kain behaviour no get place for dia app store. Dem also say dem dey work wit di app developers to beta prevent illegal activities like dis for dia platform.

Another thing we de for inside dis tori