By: Najma Hassan
Imagine being beaten, abused and humiliated all because you attempted to seek a better life. Tahriib, the process in which Somali citizens take the journey to Europe, can be quite dangerous, deadly and costly!
Young Somali citizens are running away in the effort to seek a better life for their families. Somali smugglers are infiltrating the minds of youth with promises of a better life. The Somali tahriib process is one in which the model of "leave now" "pay later" system is implemented. With a lack of awareness and optimism for the future, young Somali teens have been forced to embark on this journey. They are forced to pay the full amount of their ransom and then are told their future awaits. How much can a new life cost? Somali travelers are asked to pay anywhere from $8,000-$80,000 USD for their lives.
They are asked to call their families back home as they are abused and beaten. All so their families can hear their pleas and know the severity of the situation. How's a pastoral-poverty- stricken family supposed to pay? The answer is they don't. THEY CAN'T. So, what happens to their loved ones? They are subjected to hunger, physical abuse, and rape. They are forever enslaved until they are freed with payment or unfortunately pass away.
Social media has been circulating heartbreaking images and videos of the heinous abuse towards Somali youth. We urge you all to act and hold your leaders ACCOUNTABLE! AMARA is collaborating with Horn of Hope to raise awareness on this issue. Please use the hashtag #TalkTahriib and begin a dialogue of change. Contact your local government and demand action and justice!
We have an obligation to protect our Somali brothers and sisters. They depend on us. Let's not let them down!