In a smugglers boat with a baby
Digging for gold without pay
Mustafa was born in Sudan but when he was a teenager, his family moved to Egypt. Soon after arriving there, he decided to try to get to Canada because he felt he had no future in Egypt. He and some friends arranged with a smuggler and they left on a boat from Alexandria.
Hekma grew up in western Sudan and lived a normal and happy life. This all changed when she got married. Her husband’s family considered his choice of bride a disgrace because Hekma came from a dark-skinned tribe that traditionally had been seen as slaves. When she had given birth to her son and was pregnant with her daughter, she decided to leave Sudan because of the hatred she met from her in-laws.
For Precious and Osagie, life in Nigeria began to deteriorate when herdsmen started grazing their cattle on their crops. Tensions escalated into attacks between the herdsmen and the whole community and it was no longer safe for them to stay. Osagie decided to travel to Libya first through a friend who would sponsor him. Precious wanted to join him and met someone who told her she could work as a housemaid in Libya. The desert journey to Libya was enough to make them regret leaving.
Fighting broke out in Mary’s village in Nigeria. Her family were killed but she managed to escape. Then she met a woman who offered to take her to Europe to work as a housemaid. She would also be able to go to school there. Mary agreed and they set off on the journey. In the desert, soldiers shot at their car, it overturned, and many passengers were injured. They had to stay in hiding in a cave, with very little food and water. People became desperate with hunger and thirst. Finally, after ten days, another car came and picked them up.
Gloria lost her business in Nigeria and was being harassed by her creditors. A friend told her about a possibility to go to Europe to earn money, and they left with a smuggler. The journey through the desert was harsh, they were suffering from the heat and were hungry and thirsty. When they arrived in Libya, they realised the smuggler had cheated them. They were taken to a slave market and sold. Gloria never saw her friend again.
Favour was preparing for her wedding in her village in Nigeria when catastrophe struck, and she had to flee for her life. Her brother killed their stepmother in an argument about the wedding, the stepmother’s family blamed Favour for what happened and vowed to kill her in revenge. Favour saw no other solution than to escape. She had heard about possibilities to work in Libya and contacted a smuggler. The journey through the desert was a horrible ordeal.
Shola was unhappy with her life in Nigeria. She wanted to study and get a job, but when she finished secondary school, her family expected her to marry, have children, and be a housewife. She decided to go to Europe to realise her plans. A woman promised to take her there, and she departed with a group of girls. They had been promised the journey would be short and easy, but already the crossing of the hot desert to Libya was an ordeal.
At her school in Nigeria, Vera and her brother were being threatened by gangsters. The situation became dangerous, and her mother was very worried about her security. Vera felt she had no other option than flee from the country. She contacted a smuggler who would take her to Europe via Libya. She was surprised when the woman frankly suggested that she could earn money both in Libya and in Europe as a prostitute. Vera said she would not do such a thing, and the woman did not press the issue. When they arrived in Libya, she called her and told her that now, she must work as a prostitute to pay her debt.