I met a man who I thought I would spend the rest of my life with. There was an instant attraction the moment we met and we got along so well. This was a new feeling for me. For starters, I was pretty young and I hadn’t been in many relationships. I also grew up in a toxic family and at 17, I ran away from home. I stayed in touch with my older brother but never contacted my mother after I left home. One of my dreams was to go to Dubai and work since some of the girls I knew had gone there and were living a good life.
However, I had no luck in getting an opportunity to go to Dubai and as the years went by, I gave up on this dream. At the time I met Dan, I was working as a waitress in a nice hotel. He was dining at the hotel when he made a move on me.
“You’re too fine to be working here.” He said. “Do you have a boyfriend?”
“No,” I answered.
It wasn’t unusual for a man to hit on me while I was working. In fact, I was used to it and didn’t think much of it. When he left, he gave me a 100-dollar tip along with his number. I told my workmates who encouraged me to call him.
“The man wants you and he’s cute.” One commented.
I called him during my break and he invited me to his apartment. After my shift, I went home, freshened up then headed to his apartment in Kilimani. He welcomed me warmly and just like our first encounter, he was very flirty with me. I spent the night with him and before I knew it, I was in a relationship with him.
I continued to go to my work but he let me know that he didn’t want me to work in that industry.
“That job isn’t good for you. I want to set up a business for you. I know a dealer in Dubai who can get us anything we need.”
When he mentioned Dubai, my ears perked up. I had never told him anything about my dreams to go to Dubai since I had already given up on them. However, the dream was revived. I was so excited that I quit my job that same month and moved into his apartment.
When I moved in with him, I started to notice some red flags but I ignored them. He always talked to people on the phone in a foreign language from morning to night yet, he never seemed to go to work. I asked him what he did for a living and he simply said business.
Though this strange behaviour rang bells in my mind, I was blinded by my desire to go to Dubai and live a good life.
“We’re travelling to Dubai in a month. Make sure you get your passport. I’ll arrange the rest.”
It didn’t even seem real at the moment. I never thought that it would be that easy to go to Dubai. Additionally, I was so busy organizing my passport and shopping for clothes that I would wear during the trip that I didn’t realize how time was flying by. Before I could even tell my brother or close friends, I was already boarding a flight and off to Dubai.
I figured I’d let them know once I got there but this never happened. Dan and I checked into a hotel room but he left shortly after. As I unpacked my clothes, there was a knock on my door and a strange man forced his way inside. I felt myself losing consciousness as I struggled to see who the man was.
I woke up in a strange dark room surrounded by strange women of all races. There were Asians, Africans, and Caucasians all with the same confused look as I had. No one talked to each other for about an hour. We all sat silently looking around the small room. Then, I broke the silence.
“Do you speak English?” I asked an Asian girl who was seated next to me.
“Yes. A little bit.”
“What is happening?” I asked her.
“I don’t know. My boyfriend brought me to Dubai then I found myself here.” She explained.
Everyone I asked said almost the same story. Their boyfriend brought them to Dubai and they woke up in a strange room. It was the same thing that happened to me.
We were in that room for almost a full day without anyone checking on us. We didn’t have food or water but in the evening, a masked man came and bundled us in a black SUV and we were taken to a high-end part of town. The man separated us and took us to three different hotel rooms. We were now three girls in each room. We had no idea what was going to happen.
I hadn’t heard from my boyfriend the whole time and I didn’t have a way to call him. The man picked one of the girls I was with and after two hours she came by sobbing her eyes out.
“They forced me to sleep with them.” She said.
I knew instantly that it was a sex trafficking gang and started trying to escape. However, the room was locked and only opened once when the guy came to take one of us. The phones in the room didn’t work either.
No one came back that night and we spent the whole night comforting the girl. In the morning, we had a knock on the door and a lady asked to clean the room. I knew that was our only chance to escape.
“I think I misplaced my room key. Could you open it for us?” I asked through the door.
The moment that door unlocked, we bolted out and made our way to the door. We explained to the front desk attendant what had happened but I couldn’t stay. The other girls said they wanted to go to the police. However, I decided to go to a hotel where one of my friends told me she worked.
I walked for almost two hours in the hot Dubai sun looking for my friend’s hotel. My feet hurt me so much but finally, I found the hotel. When I got there, the security guard couldn’t let me in because of the way I looked but I asked him if he knew my friend.
“Sarah is my good friend but she’s not around right now. She works the night shift.”
“I’ll wait for her.”
“You can’t wait at the hotel entrance.”
He offered to take me to a friend’s apartment but I didn’t trust anyone so I went to a bus stop and sat there from morning to night until my friend started her shift. The guard came walking with Sarah and she almost fainted when she saw me. I hadn’t seen her for almost 5 years and she didn’t expect to see me in Dubai.
She took the night off and we went to her apartment where I explained everything. Since I was new in Dubai and in distress, I couldn’t remember any of the hotels I was in. I also didn’t want to deal with the police. I just wanted to go home. She accommodated me for a few days until my return date arrived and I got back to my country.
Once I touched down, I went straight to my brother’s apartment where I stayed until I got back on my feet. I never heard from Dan again. However, I started getting strange calls from a Dubai number and I suspected it was him. I had to change my number and even moved to a different city. My dream to work in Dubai died after that ordeal.
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