At first, Sarah Nakintu was grateful to her friend for alerting her to job opportunities in marketing and retail in Dubai.

Nakintu, a 27-year-old woman from the Ugandan capital Kampala, trusted her friend, who had worked in the United Arab Emirates and seemed successful with plenty of money.

She followed her friend’s instructions. Present a valid passport to the recruiter who would organise airline tickets and a visa. Once the documents were in order, Nakintu paid the recommended “token of thanks” to her friend – $200 in cash.

Nakintu (who requested her real name not be used) was advised to only keep her boarding pass to Kigali, Rwanda, in sight and hide her connecting pass to Dubai as immigration officials stop migrants who bypassed government recruiting agencies to seek employment.

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