"They took my passport and my phone. I was the one doing all the chores in the house: laundry, cleaning, cooking the rice, and all. I worked from 6am to 1am. There was never a day off. I couldn’t cope. Sometimes I used to cry while working as it was too much for me. I was crying all the time and not eating. I worked there for 6 months and they didn’t pay me."
These are the words of Fatou*, a 16 year old girl, who was sold online in Kuwait. She was being offered for a few thousand dollars on an app, next to things like second hand cars, lawnmowers and TVs.
‘Look, this is Daddy and this is Mummy... She’s got a pleasant face, she’s kind, she won’t say ‘no’ to you.’ This what Fatou's seller said to a BBC undercover team who discovered the girl being sold in Kuwait. See Fatou's full story in the documentary here
The woman told the BBC team that she'd confiscated Fatou's passport and mobile phone, didn't allow her a day off, and never let her outside of the house alone. This young girl was completely imprisoned in conditions of modern day slavery.
"There is nothing you can do, you haven’t got anybody there, no mum or dad. I was scared that if I tried to run away they would send me to the police."
After the BBC alerted local NGO Sandigan and Kuwaiti authorities, Fatou was eventually able to return home to Guinea, West Africa. But in the meantime she was sold to another "owner" via the app.Fatou back home in Conakry
Now Fatou is in Guinea, she is much happier. She told the BBC, "I feel like I am coming back from slavery". But her situation is still precarious. She is an orphan, living with an adopted family and is trying to rebuild her life in Guinea's capital, Conakry. Since coming back, she has suffered from serious health issues and has received little help from state authorities.
Fatou’s only chance at being compensated now lies in the hands of Kimberley Motley - a leading US human rights lawyer who previously worked as a defence attorney in Afghanistan.
"I’m seeking compensation but also criminal charges should be launched. I believe at the basic level anyone that was involved in trafficking her in Kuwait or Guinea should be criminally charged and frankly should be in prison."
Kimberley will push for the woman who sold Fatou to be punished, but she also believes that tech companies should be held accountable, including Google and Apple who provided and approved the apps that were used to sell the girl, and the app developers themselves.
"I believe the app developers should definitely provide compensation for Fatou. As well as possibly Apple and Google. On Apple Store they proclaim that they are responsible for everything that's put on their store. And so our question is, what does that responsibility mean?"
Please give what you can to support the campaign for Fatou. Any money you can give will be used towards to cover the cost of the legal battle that will be fought on many fronts - in Kuwait, in Guinea and internationally against the traffickers and against the tech giants.
There are thousands of women and girls in a similar situation to Fatou, and if her case can be won it will be a huge milestone to prevent similar injustices in the future.
*Fatou is not her real name - as a victim of human trafficking, her identity is being protected