Fayol*, a young Madagascan lady shared her experience as a mail order bride in China.
Struggling to find a job in Madagascar, Fayol was worried about her life and family. A friend of her brought a welcomed light to her anxiety over her future – a Madagascan lady named Hasina could help her to find a job in China and arranged the trip for her to make the journey. Fayol’s family supported Fayol to work overseas after meeting with the “trust-worthy” Hasina, because there was no other choice.
Fayol was dropped at the airport, but on the way to the airport, she was verbally abused by Hasina. Fayol was travelling with another Madagascan lady who was also trafficked to China. Madagascar and China are two different countries, each with their own unique culture, and Fayol had no understanding of China before she arrived. Despite this, Fayol was dreaming of a good future in China, working to support her family back home. However, this dream would soon turn into a nightmare.
Hasina’s daughter picked Fayol and other girls in airport in China and took away their passports. Fayol and another lady were drove to a 3 storey-house with many rooms, in Fuzhou. At the house, everyone had their own room with a bed. Here Fayol encountered around 15 more Madagascan ladies, “I was probably the youngest,” she said.
“The house was empty without any decoration and entertainment, it was barred with fence and a locked gate. I never plan to escape because my passport was took away,” said Fayol, who spent her time sitting and speaking with the other Madagascan ladies. She was not allowed to leave the house and stayed there for 4 months.
During that period of time, about 5 men would brought into the house every 3 to 4 days, and she was asked to stand in front of them and choose a man as husband. “We must dress beautifully, make straight hair if any of us had curly hair, put make-up if we had dark skin. Hasina’s daughter asked us to choose so that we could get back our passport and visa” recalled Fayol, adding that she witnessing money changing hands between them – the men would pay RMB$4000 to Hasina’s daughter and were required to pay RMB$3000 after being chosen.
“I kept refusing to choose a man, but one week before my visa expired, I was forced to choose one and get engaged in two weeks to a month,” said Fayol. She finally chose a 35-year old “husband” and was drove to his big house. Fayol stayed with the man’s large family, communicated with one another by sign language, and watched TV although she did not understand.
“The man worked at days and sometimes he forced me to have sex with him,” recalled Fayol.
Fayol escaped successfully from the man after seven days – she told the man she was going to buy something each day and received RMB 100 dollars every time. This plan meant that she ended up saving RMB 700 dollars over the week. “I took the money and passport with me. When I was on the way to Fuzhou, the bus had passed Guangzhou, so I remembered the bus number,” recalled Fayol. She successfully got on the bus to Guangzhou and stayed there for two and half months.
When coming to Hong Kong to renew her visa, Fayol received the 14-day visa. She had asked a Madagascan friend to bring her visa and passport to China for renewal, but they only returned the passport. She went to Kowloon Bay Immigration to surrender as advised by a friend, “I lost my visa and don’t know what to do,” she said. Once she had reported her situation to the authorities, Fayol soon moved into a flat sponsored by a non-government organization.
*All names and identifying information have been changed to protect the identity of the survivors.
Indicators of trafficking for exploitation:
- Deceptive recruitment – Fayol was lured to China because of job opportunity promised by the recruiter Hasina.
- Exploitation – isolation, surveillance and restriction of movement by recruiter.
- Abuse of vulnerability – dependency on exploiters due to language barriers, lack knowledge of local laws.
Are you or someone you know being trafficked?
Is human trafficking happening in your community? Recognising potential red flags and knowing the indicators of human trafficking is a key step in identifying more victims and helping them find the assistance they need.
To reach out or report suspected cases of human trafficking in Hong Kong, please contact us at connect@100storiesHK.org
Story provided by Stop Trafficking of People (STOP).