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The city of New York, even during the earliest days of Dutch settlers, has been the first stop for countless immigrants coming into the United States., which in recent years also included immigrants from Africa. Over half a million African migrants have flocked to the United States since the early 80s, with many of them settling in New York just like the other groups that arrived before them. However, their arrival ushered in various social issues, particularly for young West African women who are working in the city.
One of the primary West African immigrant communes is in a Bronx neighborhood in New York City. They are very hardworking and religious people who are trying to make a life for themselves and their families in a different environment.
Many of the women find jobs as nannies or domestics and hotel chambermaids, while some of them go to school. For those who are working, however, they perform their routine tasks in fear like the woman named Fatou who works as a home attendant.
She said, “I am scared to talk to people, I do not want to lose my job.”
Fatou revealed that the son of a client attempted to have sex with her, adding that it was not the first time that happened. It was, in a way, similar to the case of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former International Monetary Fund head, who is now facing charges on his alleged sexual attack on a West African chambermaid. The case is now awaiting trial.
According to Dorchen Leidholdt, the director of a group called Sanctuary for Families, “Immigrant women, especially young women, immigrant women, are especially vulnerable to sexual harassment in the workplace.”