Awino was coming to the end of her studies, and she and her classmates were looking for jobs online and through the school’s contacts. The school’s contacts – the places where she had got work experience – typically offered just over the minimum wage for entry-level positions. It was more than her mother earned in her kiosk, but all the girls dreamed of a more secure future. Awino’s friend, Carina, was looking for jobs abroad. She hoped that her qualification would mean she was eligible to work in Europe or the Arab countries. All the girls were so excited when she got a job offer! It would pay three times their minimum wage and then would pay for her flights and accommodation. Carina just needed to get her passport! Carina was so excited and told her mentor and her teacher about this good fortune. Her teacher congratulated her, but her mentor was wary. 

“What do you know about this company”, she asked. “Have you googled them? Have you spoken to a real person?”. Carina was surprised by her mentor’s questions. She was so happy about the offer. They did some research together, looking at the messages from the recruiter and trying to find more information. Carina contacted them asking for a zoom call and more information before she travelled. She never heard back from them.

Scams and Trafficking

Scammers are everywhere, in every country, all the time. In many of our countries, fake job offers are more than a broken dream for young African women: they are a route into trafficking, which could be domestic servitude or forced prostitution. We can never be too cautious when assessing online opportunities involving travel and you can find more information here [How To Know If a Job Is a Scam |]. It’s important to remember that these offers could be to stay in your country.

Even if the end goal of the scammers isn’t trafficking, it could well be financial trickery. Job seekers may share all their personal information and bank details, and open themselves up to theft or identity crimes.

Reflection Questions

  1. Have I heard of these scams before? Has anyone you know been scammed?
  2. Do you currently talk to young people you work with about scams and other online dangers?
  3. Do you feel confident guiding young people at risk of scams?

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