Hoping to earn an income to sustain a life for herself and her two daughters, 27-year-old Adama Jawara travelled thousands of kilometres to reach Baghdad, but ended up without her passport, hoping the government to at least help her go back to her country.
Adama is from Sierra Leone, Africa. She came to Iraq a few months ago as a guest worker. She says she has two daughters, and that her family lives in Freetown in Sierra Leone.
She was found alone and abandoned on one of Kirkuk’s main streets and the police picked her up.
“A friend of the family I worked for, along with two other individuals, tortured me and then brought me to this city and left me,” said Adama.
They took all the money I have. They even took away my passport
“They took all the money I have. They even took away my passport.”
She doesn’t know the name of the company that arranged for her to travel to Iraq and work as a guest worker. Neither does she know the full names of the family she worked for.
She was to get $250 per month for working as a maid for the family.
Adama says they took away her passport the day she arrived
She says the people who arranged her travel, took her passport from her the moment she arrived at the airport in Baghdad.
Kirkuk Police are now investigating the matter.
KirkukNow has been trying to contact the police to inquire about the case, but no one is willing to talk.
After being interviewed by the police, Adama has been given a temporary place to stay at the home of one of Kirkuk neighbourhood commissioners.
The commissioner, Yawar Alawerdi, said: “The police told me ‘this woman was tortured and has no identification papers; let her stay at your home for a few days until her issue is solved’
This woman is traumatised. She keeps changing her story because she ws tortured
This woman is traumatised. She has been staying with us for four days. She keeps changing her story because she ws tortured.”
There are no traces of torture on Adama’s face, and the police have not sent her to a hospital for medical examination.
“Sometimes she says she worked in Baghdad, and other times she says she worked in Kirkuk. We even took her back to the place where she was abandoned, but she was too scared to step out of the car,” said the commissioner Yawar Alawerdi.
He added: “She stays with my wife and daughters; they’ve given her some clothes and other basic necessities.
Ture, this is a humanitarian act and everyone likes to help others, but it is not right whenever something happens, for the police to contact me and leave it all over for me. I have my own family to take care of; I don’t earn enough to help others long-term.”
This year alone, on two other occasions, the police have sent children without a guardian to stay with Yawar. One time there were three children from one family, and another there was one child. They stayed at Yawar’s home for several months until the courts determined their fates.
In Kirkuk and other disputed areas, there are no shelters for women under threat.
There are many foreigners from Africa and other places in this city who have to work, without any [government] entity to oversee
Sajad Jum’a, head of Kirkuk’s Office for Human Rights, tol KirkukNow: “There are many foreigners from Africa and other places in this city who have to work, without any [government] entity to oversee.”
Sajad added that there should be designated places for sheltering the homeless, those under threat and children without a guradian. She agrees with the commisioner that it is not appropriate to let homeless people stay at the homes of comissioners.
In the first eight months of 2020, more than 150 registered cases of violence have been registered at Kirkuk’s Office for Human Rights.
According to statistics by the Federal Government, more than 5,000 cases of violence have been registered in the first six months of 2020.