Most Yemenis were at home taking their afternoon siesta when Belkis Wille, the Human Rights Watch Yemen researcher, walked into the shop in Haradh for the meeting she had arranged with Nadim. The shop owner, a friend of Nadim’s, took her to the back office to wait. The heat in the dusty desert town was stifling, and the shop was hardly better – Haradh had almost no electricity, and air conditioning wasn’t an option. Shortly after Belkis arrived, a round man in his 40s walked through the door. He stood with his back to her, shifting his weight from one foot to the other. He seemed nervous, glancing frequently around the room.
Nadim (not his real name) had reason for both the jangled nerves and the caution. His line of business – human trafficking – meant that meeting with Belkis put him in peril.