Hearing a barbaric treatment of Ethiopians through various media is increasingly becoming talk of the day. For instance, the ISIS delirious killing of 30 Ethiopians and fatal treatment of Ethiopians in South Africa due to xenophobia were unforgettable phenomena in the minds of all Ethiopians. It is now common to hear brutal killing of Ethiopians in Gulf States, too.
It is also becoming difficult to reconcile the two paradoxical aspects: the government has been making various efforts to rescue Ethiopians from insecure areas such as Yemen and get human trafficking dried on the one hand and many are, brokers predominantly, making huge amount of money illegally sending fellow citizens abroad on the other. And citizens migrating are subject to problems ranging from harassment to untold humiliation, even to death.
It is really regarded as a challenging puzzle as most of the youth are not interested in engaging in job opportunities created at home. This is mainly due to brokers’ contribution to the changing of the mind set up of victims as the former wish.
These brokers do not tell migrants the reality on the ground instead of filling their minds with void hope. As brokers are consolidating network from family to international level, they are well organized and capable of vending citizens illegally.
The hardship migrants face begins locally. Since their migration is illegal, they are subject to employing any mode of transportation with a view to masking the inhumane acts of brokers. Most commonly, they are transported via lorries coupled with other equipment. Here is an example of the very tricky brokers have been putting in place while transporting victims. If anybody questions, from customs and revenue offices perhaps, their questions are replied as such: “They are going to mega projects to work.”
After some time, the broker transferred migrants to another agent. Following such a fashion, there are about four to 10 brokers’ channels. Through all these routes, individuals do not take care of migrants as they disregarded and belittle them. Instead of providing migrants with food and other assistance, brokers have tied them up, hit, raped even killed them in the dessert. Even some die on the way due to suffocation, some submerge in the seas and oceans.
Simply, one is tired of listening the challenges migrates have been coming across. It calls for firm commitment and coordination to end.
As brokers are making their mechanisms much more sophisticated day by day, it is increasingly becoming difficult to well rectify the root thereby devising possible solutions to the problems.
Many say, some senior government officials put their hands and support these sedate criminal acts to get wealth out of it as they assist brokers to pass on hurdles when they are arrested and charged by investigators and attorneys. In so doing, they tried to strengthen brokers’ network and continue concealing their act.
The other means of illegal human trafficking is, going abroad having many visas. This approach seems legal, but it is absolutely not. Some of the migrants get forgery visa from brokers. They collected 40,000 to 80,000 birr per migrant for this. Reaching Gulf States, most of the migrants suffered a lot from lack food for days waiting brokers at airports. Most of the time they return home if they get help form council offices. Those who are lucky to get their broker have no right to change jobs without the consent of him.
Pilgrimaging (Haji and Umra tour) is also another means to accelerate illegal human trafficking. Most of the passengers who go to Saudi Arabia for religious purpose do not return home. And because they have no green card to live in Saudi, they are arrested by the police or any executive government body. Some others are still going there having a business visa. But the consequence is not easy. Hence, raising awareness of the people towards illegal trafficking is decisive, said Wubishet Demisse, Counsel General at Jeddah.
“As the problem emanates from Ethiopia, I feel that the solution should come from Ethiopia, too. Migrants may face many challenges in Saudi Arabia or any Middle East country, along all their routes. Most of them may die along the route, some may be very fortunate to reach Saudi Arabia.”
He went on saying, in Jeddah and surrounding areas, there are about 300,000 Ethiopians. All except some who are working in international organizations, are illegal ones. So they potentially face a variety of challenges. Last week for instance, two Ethiopians were sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia. The measure was taken due to illegal activities such as killing, robbing, drug trafficking, among others, he stated.
According Ethiopian Ambassador to Qatar Mesganu Arga, the major means to mitigate the problem is firm coordination. This helps narrow gaps between different stakeholders. Awareness of the society towards human trafficking is still low and inadequate. “The change is not as expected. So, we have to strengthen our cooperation at Ministerial, Governmental, Non-Governmental Organization level to change awareness of the society.
“As human trafficking is an international concept, we have to strengthen our cooperation with the respective countries where we are assigned.” Since another grey area in fighting illegal trafficking is the network of international brokers, we have to tatter it through strong collaboration,” the Ambassador said.
Understanding the seriousness of the problem, the incumbent has established a National Council on prevention and control of human trafficking before years. The Council has been making relentless efforts to minimize human trafficking in cooperation with various stakeholders through mobilizing the public ranging from the national to grass root level.
As said by Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen, the Council tried to mitigate illegal human smuggling through mobilizing the public at large. Though promising activities are moving forward well through putting the government system in place at all levels, developing a clear strategy and identifying potential areas to address the problem, still illegal human trafficking continues to be a serious problem.
“We found that the whole movement is not sufficient to mitigate and control this illegal system. Brokers and other players agenda is still working in a very invisible way by confusing parents, youths and other citizens. Our reaction to the problem is not enough,” said Demeke.
The National Council has already put in effect a clear strategy to assist the role played by each stakeholder. But each player is not actively managing the role they should play. Hence, the council agreed to introduce national accountability for each player to be active and responsible in implementing the National Strategy.
“We need to augment our effort to control this social menace by raising public awareness and mobilizing all stakeholders. And we are committed to interrupt the network as well as to help brokers be development actors,” he said.
In a nutshell, the government, development partners, various organizations have to focus on creating ample job opportunities to get the intent of illegally leaving for abroad parched.