Living in anguish far from home

I am now in detention and I want to share my story of how I got tricked into trafficking cocaine into Hong Kong on 25th October 2022. That was the day I got arrested at the Hong Kong International Airport upon arriving.I am a 29-year-old mother of two. In 2020, I got a call from my ex-husband because things could not work out between us. We had separated in 2016 when I had just gotten pregnant with our second child. I had to relocate to a different town because a lot had happened to me. I needed space. I had left home by then, my grandparents who raised me didn’t agree with me having a baby. They were scared that with the way I was maybe I would go dump the child in the street. So I left them and went to my childhood friend who was willing to take me in. We started living happily. We found work as sales agents at one of the most popular insurance companies in my country because before I could separate from my ex-husband I was already selling insurance.

All went on fine. I was happy as I got near to giving birth I went back to my grandparents’ home. I had a baby boy. God blessed me.When my ex wanted to see the baby I wanted to say no because I was still not emotionally fit to see him again. But I had to put the past behind me. So I said okay.After childbirth I started looking beautiful again, so he got jealous and demanded that I pay him back all the money he had spent on me. It was now 2019. I asked him to give me time. I would pay back each month until I finished. He agreed.

I was doing well in 2020. God blessed me. I had moved on and I started dating again… wow! Upon hearing that, my ex started calling me non-stop, up to 15 times a day to ask how much I would give him that month because I was now in love. And this was the man I respected when we were together. I had to make him happy even if I was sad. But now he was treating me like this after I had borne him children.

Then in 2021, his sister got involved. The sister told me I needed to go to India. I asked what for. Moreover, I have never traveled outside Africa and I don’t have a Visa. She said all that would be taken care of. I got so scared. I told my little sister about it. My sister asked me to let her go instead, but I said “No, you can’t! I don’t know what is the reason for travelling.” I asked the sister what she needed me to do in India. She said to take medicine for her sick friend because the medicine is African medicine. I said to let me think about it. It never crossed my mind that it could be drugs. That was in 2021 November. After that, I went quiet on them.On 16th October 2022, I remember it was the day I was planning on moving in with my kids to a bigger flat. I received a call… “Are you still thinking about it for almost one year now?” I said yes because I can’t just go to a country I have never been to. She then went on to say “If you want to see those boys you love so much, you have to go because we need our money back as a family.”

I told my sister again. She told me to look at the way my life was at that moment. “Just go.” she said, “God will bless you. Just be careful.” So then I called my ex’s sister and said “Okay, I will go.” She then told me she would send me the number of her friend in South Africa who had the medicine, and then from there I would take it. She sent the number and I called the friend. She told me I would start the next day. I said I needed time to arrange things. She said “No. There is no time.”

South AfricaI left my country on Sunday 18th October 2022 and I arrived in South Africa on Tuesday morning. Once I got there they took me to a hotel as I was super tired from travelling two days on the bus. My feet were swollen and little did I know that I was three months pregnant because everything was normal – my menstruation hadn’t stopped coming but my boyfriend kept on telling me that I looked like I was expecting a baby. I didn’t believe it, because even the tests I had done all came out negative. When I had rested for about four hours, five people came into my room. One of them was called “boss” and another one was a South African policeman. The lady who was with them asked me “Do you know why you are here” I said, “Yes, to take medicine to India for my ex sister-in-law’s friend.” She said, “It’s not medicine, it’s cocaine.” I almost jumped out of the room, I said I can’t do it. The other man said, “You are already here and you have seen us. We can’t let you go. We will kill your siblings and your children if you leave. You will go to Asia.” The man in the police uniform showed me pictures of my family. I felt helpless. I was in a hotel that was very far from the bus terminal to go back to my country. They left me in the room to “think about it because you have to leave on Sunday or your family dies.”

Thinking of my lovely family, and even though we don’t have what other people have, we have peace, love, and joy.

I was left with no choice. My family at that moment had nothing because everything was going to help our sick grandmother. I had to accept. I tried to do everything to leave that hotel but one of the guys also booked a room there to keep an eye on me. I called and said I would do it because I was in a foreign country and I didn’t know how the police worked. Besides, one of the police appears to be with them. So I was scared. I had to go.

I was told there was a change of plan. I was now going to Hong Kong, not India. I didn’t have any say. I just said okay… The lady came with a pack of something and in there were the drugs. She said the boss said I needed to swallow 100 pellets. I shouted, “Swallow!? Not put in my bag?” She said no, and I looked at the pellets. They were there. I swallowed 43 pellets and started feeling really sick, as if I had malaria. I felt very cold. That happened on Saturday, 22nd October 2022. The woman said, “You are leaving tomorrow at 7:00 am.”

Hong Kong

On the entire flight to Hong Kong, I kept shivering, I also started feeling stomach ache. After I landed, I was stopped by Immigration. They had called Customs to search me because I could not be allowed to land in Hong Kong. I started bleeding and then I was taken to the hospital for examination. I was found to be three months pregnant. Everyone was surprised how I could have swallowed drugs. But I refused to believe it. I said “I am not pregnant” and they said to me look at the scan. Yes, my baby was there but it was too late. I was bleeding so much that I lost the baby. After 14 days in hospital, I was taken to the police. I have been on remand for ten months now, waiting for my trial. It has been a very long road for me inside here. I am trying to recover from the miscarriage and trying my very best to stay positive but it has not been easy at all.Ladies, no matter what you are going through, never accept someone telling you to do this because you will be helpless. Always be on the alert, even if you have a loan and may lose your property, it is better than being inside prison. It’s not easy.

Even if they tell you that you will die if you don’t do it, it is better to tell them to kill you rather than be inside prison thousands of miles away from home.

They are busy living life to the fullest, while I’m now in prison. My children need me, my family needs me, and the saddest thing is that I can only talk to them ten minutes each month. That pains me a lot. I am afraid because I don’t know how long I will be in Hong Kong’s prison before I can go back home and I can’t sleep just thinking about when will I be sentenced. The waiting time on remand can take one or even two years at times.I have lost weight and I have become a woman with sleepless nights because I don’t know what is next. Be alert, they will tell you nice things. Don’t believe it. I’m suffering just because I accepted to come to repay my ex and I have lost my baby as well. Always be alert of the people around you, some will come as friends. Don’t trust them at all. Prison is not a good place. Here you don’t rest because they tell you when to do everything from sleeping, eating, bathing, etc. Always be alert and say NO to drug trafficking. It’s not the solution to your problems at all.Some women here have become mentally disturbed because they can’t accept what has happened to them. Some have tried to take their own lives. Say NO to drugs, together we can fight the battle.

Note: This letter has been edited to correct spelling and grammar.