Image for post
Image for post
IOM/Mohamed Hadj

Race for Life: Healing Trafficking Survivors in Sierra Leone through Awareness Raising

Each year, thousands of young Sierra Leoneans go on ‘temple run’ to escape poverty and chronic underemployment. They use the services of fraudulent ‘agents’ who require them to pay big money for fake job or study abroad opportunities. Inspired from the popular mobile phone game, the idiomatic expression ‘temple run’ describes the risky journey young Sierra Leoneans — some of them victims of trafficking — take through the desert and the sea. In the game, the player endlessly runs, defying various obstacles to escape demons nipping at their heels. There is no end to the journey — except for death — but along the way, the player collects gold coins, that is, if they survive.

Image for post
Image for post
Traffickers posing as “agents” use fraudulent education or employment offers to scam youths into paying hefty sums of money. Once they money is paid, the “agents” disappear. IOM/Mohamed Hadj
Image for post
Image for post
Victims of trafficking are often subject to forced labour and sexual exploitation in foreign countries. Child trafficking also occurs frequently, with young boys being trafficked in and out of the country to work in mining areas or for domestic labour. IOM/Mohamed Hadj
Image for post
Image for post
“Many people do not know the facts of the journeys they embark in,” says Sheku. “So we go in communities to help share our experiences with others who may be tempted to temple run.” IOM/Mohamed Hadj

Written by

Official account of IOM, the UN Migration Agency.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store