The Young African Refugee and Labor Trafficking

By Deraso Dokhole

We always hear and talk about “ Africa rising” but the question I keep on asking myself is Africa rising? The late Ali Mufuruki a Tanzanian businessman argued that Africa’s economic growth for the last 20 years has been by 6%-7% compared to china’s economic growth at their peak of rising which was at 18% and at some point, their economy declined by 10% and it was termed a recession so what does that mean the world has a mediocre expectation for African countries. On the other hand, Africa development bank projected in 2017 that Africa was to be the world’s second-fastest-growing economy and estimates that average growth will rebound to 3.4% in 2017 while growth was expected to increase by 4.3% in 2018.

African youth are the most affected with the current economic climate around the continent they are expected to be over 830 million youth by 2050 and due to unstable economy most youths are still unemployed and the numbers are expected to increase. With the social media era taking over young people are getting more influenced to take unnecessary risks to acquire a better and more productive life. That’s why we see so many young people deciding to take a boat across the Mediterranean Sea to get to Europe because institutions have failed to invest in various sectors that would have benefited the young people and instead they are contributing to the creation of this monster called corruption.

In 2019 African Union’s theme was “year of refugees, IDPs and returnees” during a continental youth consultation conference in Uganda a lady from West Africa was able to share how she was trafficked by her friend who influenced her that she will have a better paying job once she arrived in Middle East. All her expectations were later proven otherwise once she had to work as a house help for a whole apartment complex. Her employers’ confiscated all her documents making it hard for her to escape at one point she almost lost her life from all the torture she experienced in the hands of her employers. I would be lying if I said this was the first time I heard such a story. These stories flow through my community and all over Kenya. Authorities do little to ensure that the Kenyan Employment Act of 2007 is enforced and they even look the other way while false job recruiters exploit the dreams of a better life that all Kenyan youth have a right to pursue. Kenyan laws do nothing to directly protect migrant workers or refugees from labor trafficking.

So in the end we have to ask ourselves if the Africa rising narrative is flawed. Slavery still flourishes in Africa and young people are are looking to officials who do not want to stop it.

I believe Africa can rise and all young people deserve to rise with it. It is important we don’t mistake hype for reality and we do not mistake hope for achievement. That is how we stop labor trafficking in Africa and beyond.

Deraso Dokhole is the founder of A Day As a Refugee

Learn more at:

Survivors Share This is a production of Karana Rising. Join us each week to learn with and from survivors and allies as we build a global space for survivors changing their lives and the world around them! Support our survivor team and the support we offer all survivor members to ensure they are safe, connected and able to thrive.

Karana Rising is by survivors, for survivors. Our team leads innovative labs in wellness, design, advocacy & education to support survivors of human trafficking