When the call came that their former captors had been found guilty, one of the trafficked women said she immediately felt a great sense of relief. And then she thought of home. "I thought about my daughter and my mother, and how they will be proud of me that I am innocent and was forced into this," said the woman, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
For months, she and the 17 other Moroccan women involved in the case had waited for the verdict, but they were not prepared for the relief and tears that came upon hearing that seven suspects in the case would receive life sentences. "I felt so happy and like I had been born again," she said. "I was so relieved." Maitha al Mazrui, the co-ordination and follow-up officer at the Ewaa Shelters for Women and Children, described all the women as "extremely happy" at the verdict.
"They were all hugging and crying and thanking everyone," she said. "They really felt that something was done for them and they know how much we worked for them and tried to get their rights and the freedom for them to start a new life." Since the end of October, when the women were freed by police, Ewaa has provided them with shelter and support throughout the criminal case. However, according to the trafficked woman, when they first arrived at the secure location, they felt "really scared".
Eventually, she came to trust the staff and now wants only to go home and "never be separated" from her daughter. She also vowed to never again allow herself to be in a situation that could result in such abuse. "I would tell any young girl who goes to work outside her country not to trust anyone," she said. If they travel for a job, they should check that their contacts are genuine, she said, as well as provide their families and the local authorities with contact details.