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Nasreen Sheikh

There are an estimated 171,000 people living in modern slavery in Nepal (GSI 2018). Within Nepal, bonded labour exists in agriculture, brick kilns, the stone-breaking industry, and domestic work. Sex trafficking of Nepali women and girls increasingly takes place in private apartments, rented rooms, guest houses, and restaurants. Nepali and Indian children are subjected to forced labour in the country, especially in domestic work, brick kilns, and the embroidered textile, or zari, industry. Under false promises of education and work opportunities, Nepali parents give their children to brokers who instead take them to frequently unregistered children’s homes in urban locations, where they are forced to pretend to be orphans to garner donations from tourists and volunteers; some of the children are also forced to beg on the street.  Nasreen grew up in a small village between Nepal and India not easily accessible on maps or books. People born in her village do not often receive birth certificates and other identifying documents and as a result Nasreen does not know exactly how old she is. She guesses she is now somewhere between 27 or 28 years old. She was undocumented, without any proof of age or identification which allows for people to be exploited more easily. She was taken to Kathmandu to work in a manufacturing factory with her cousin when she was 9 years old. If she was not finished by her deadline, she would not be paid for all the work she had done during the week. She was forced to wake up at 4am and work until midnights, even then there were piles of clothes left over. After two months of working in a small room, the factory closed. Nasreen was turned into what she calls a ‘street kid.’ She met a man who she allowed her to go to school and receive an education, from which she was able to better understand her life and family’s history. He father and uncle died prematurely because of labour exploitation and her sister was forced into marriage when she was just 12 years old. While still a teenager Nasreen advocated for young girls and women in sweatshops. In 2008 she started her own business, ‘Local Women Handicrafts.’ 

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Raymundo

There are an estimated 403,000 people living in conditions of modern slavery in the United States (GSI 2018). The US attracts migrants and refugees who are particularly at risk of vulnerability to human trafficking. Trafficking victims often responding to fraudulent offers of employment in the US migrate willingly and are subsequently subjected to conditions of involuntary servitude in industries such as forced labour and commercial sexual exploitation. Raymundo travelled from Mexico to California for work. He was promised it would be legal and took out a loan from his trafficker to pay for his visa. Upon arrival, he was forced to live in a room with 34 other men who had been trafficked. Raymundo was forced to work long hours under constant surveillance and threats of deportation. Raymundo was able to escape after approaching an inspector that had come to assess the farm.

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Matthew Dixon

There are an estimated 133,000 people living in modern slavery in Ghana (GSI 2018). Ghana remains a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labour and sex trafficking. Ghanaian boys and girls are subjected to forced labor within the country in fishing, domestic service, street hawking, begging, portering, artisanal gold mining, quarrying, herding, and agriculture, including cocoa. Research focused on the fishing industry on Lake Volta indicated that more than half of the children working on and around the lake were born in other communities and many of these children are subjected to forced labor; not allowed to attend school; given inadequate housing and clothing; and are controlled by fishermen through intimidation, violence, and limiting access to food. Boys as young as five years old are forced to work in hazardous conditions, including deep diving, and many suffer waterborne infections. A study of the prevalence of child trafficking in selected communities in the Volta and Central Regions indicated that children from nearly one-third of the 1,621 households surveyed had been subjected to trafficking, primarily in fishing and domestic servitude. Matthew was trafficked into fishing on Lake Volta, Ghana after he left school to help support his family. The trafficker promised his mother monthly payment in exchange for Matthew’s labour. He was forced to work long hours in dangerous conditions under the threat of violence. After attending workshops on child trafficking Matthew’s mother realised what she had done and organised his release. Matthew is now back at school.

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Francis Bok (Narrative 2)

There are an estimated 465,000 people living in modern slavery in Sudan (GSI 2018). Traffickers exploit foreign and domestic victims in the country. Migrant children from West and Central Africa are exploited in forced labour for begging, public transportation, large markets and sex trafficking. Business owners, informal mining operators, community members and farmers exploit children working in brick making factories, goldmining, collective medical waste, street vending and agriculture. Children are exposed to threats, physical and sexual abuse, as well as hazardous working conditions and limited access to education or health services. At the age of four Francis Bok was kidnapped from a local market in South Sudan and forced into domestic slavery in northern Sudan. For 10 years he was forced to work long hours with no rest, treated like an animal by the family he worked for. Bok tried to escape twice before was finally being successful, reaching a refugee camp in Egypt. After a while in the camp he was able to get refugee status in the United States. In 2011 Francis Bok returned to South Sudan and works as a public relations manager at a construction company.

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Rahat

There are an estimated 1.22 million people living in conditions of modern slavery in Indonesia (GSI 2018). Traffickers exploit both domestic and foreign victims in Indonesia. Government regulations allow employers in certain sections, including small and medium enterprises and labour-intensive industries, an exemption from minimum wage requirement, thus increasing risks of exploitation. Traffickers exploit many Indonesians through force and debt-coercion. Men, women and children are exploited in fishing, construction, on plantations, in mining and in manufacturing industries. Vessel crew on board Chinese, Korean, Vanuatuan, Taiwan, Thai, Malaysian and Philippines-flagged and/or owned fishing vessels operating in Indonesian waters subject fisherman to forced labour. Recruitment agencies lure people with promises of high wages, charge fees, assign them fake identities and labor permit documents and send them to fish long hours in waters on vessels operating under complex multinational flagging and ownership arrangements. Crews on board fishing vessels have reported low or unpaid salaries and coercive tactics such as contract discrepancies, document retention, restricted communication, poor living and working conditions, threats of violence and physical and sexual abused. Rahat was looking for work when he was encouraged by a friend to travel to Bangkok for work. He was told he would be able to make more money at sea than on land, however instead he was trafficked on to a fishing trawler in Indonesia. Conditions on the boat were awful, there was not enough food to last the crew and they were subjected to beating if they were ‘lazy.’

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Layla

There are an estimated 136,000 people living on conditions of modern slavery in the United Kingdom (Global Slavery Index 2018). According to the 2017 annual figures provided by the National Crime Agency, 5, 145 potential victims of modern slavery were referred through the National Referral Mechanism in 2017, of whom 2,454 were female, 2688 were male and 3 were transgender, with 41% of all referrals being children at the time of exploitation. People are subjected to slavery in the UK in the form of domestic servitude, labour exploitation, organ harvesting and sexual exploitation, with the largest number of potential victims originating from Albania, China, Vietnam and Nigeria. This data however does not consider the unknown numbers of victims that are not reported.  Layla* came to the UK from Kenya after escaping religious strife. She had found a school in the UK who had agreed to admit her, however upon arrival she was taken to a small house and foced into care work. Traffickers took her wages to pay back the ‘debt’ incurred from getting her to the country. Layla was forced to work long hours, prevented from spending time outside and was not properly fed. After 3 years the ‘school’ was shut down, but her trafficker continued to exploit her. Layla was finally able to leave her situation after she was diagnosed with cancer in her trafficker’s name so that he could receive the assistance payments. Layla was arrested for fraud and while police initially assumed she was the criminal, her lawyer realised she had been trafficked and helped her.

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Jayson De Guzman

There are an estimated 403,000 people living in conditions of modern slavery in the United States (GSI 2018). The US attracts migrants and refugees who are particularly at risk of vulnerability to human trafficking. Trafficking victims often responding to fraudulent offers of employment in the US migrate willingly and are subsequently subjected to conditions of involuntary servitude in industries such as forced labour and commercial sexual exploitation. Jayson De Guzman was working in construction in the Philippines when he came into contact with a woman who offered him work in the United States on a P-1 visa. Upon arrival in the US, Jayson was met by this same woman who took his passport and told him he owed her $12,000 and would have to work for her for 10 years to pay off his debt. De Guzman was forced to work in the same elderly care facility as Angela Guanzon who had been trafficked from the Philippines by the same recruiter. Jayson was forced to work seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day with breaks only for sleep. The majority of his salary was taken by the recruitment as ‘repayment’ for his debts. Jayson De Guzman was finally able to escape his situation when a neighbour of the facility noticed the workers were not getting any days off and called the FBI.

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Mila

There are an estimated 61,000 people living in modern slavery in Saudi Arabia (GSI 2018). It is a source and destination country for men and women trafficked from South and South East Asia and Africa. People voluntarily migrate to the country to work in a variety of sectors including construction and domestic service; many of these workers are vulnerable to forced labour. Traffickers and brokers often illegally recruit migrants to work in Saudi Arabia and subsequently forced them into domestic servitude or debt bondage. Female domestic workers are particularly at risk of trafficking due to their isolation inside private residences. Non-payment or late payment of wages remains a complaint from foreign workers, while employer's withholding of worker's passports remains a significant problem. Trafficking perpetrators include businesses of all sizes, private families, recruitment companies in both Saudi Arabia and labour-sending countries, and organized criminal elements. Mila* was trafficked to Saudi Arabia after being offered work that would allow her to support her children. Upon arrival, the work is not what Mila expected, she has been overworked, underpaid and subjected to daily discrimination.

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Angela (Narrative 3)

There are an estimated 403,000 people living in conditions of modern slavery in the United States (GSI 2018). The US attracts migrants and refugees who are particularly at risk of vulnerability to human trafficking. Trafficking victims often responding to fraudulent offers of employment in the US migrate willingly and are subsequently subjected to conditions of involuntary servitude in industries such as forced labour and commercial sexual exploitation. Angela Guanzon was living in the Philippines facing the choice of forced marriage or unemployment when she was recruited as a health care worker in California. Upon arrival, Angela was told she owed the recruiter $12,000 and would have to work for 10 years to pay off the debt. She was forced to work long hours on little sleep and received limited food. She was finally able to escape her exploitation when a neighbour recognised the signs of labor trafficking and contacted the FBI. Angela now works with anti-trafficking charities including CAST-LA to educate people on human trafficking.

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Angela (Narrative 2)

There are an estimated 403,000 people living in conditions of modern slavery in the United States (GSI 2018). The US attracts migrants and refugees who are particularly at risk of vulnerability to human trafficking. Trafficking victims often responding to fraudulent offers of employment in the US migrate willingly and are subsequently subjected to conditions of involuntary servitude in industries such as forced labour and commercial sexual exploitation. Angela Guanzon was facing the prospect of being forced into marriage or being jobless in the Philippines, leading her to seek out work abroad. She thought all her problems had been solved when she in 2005 was recruited for a health care job in California. However, upon arrival her trafficker demanded $12,000 for the ‘opportunity. Her passport was seized, and they threatened to call the police and tell them Angela had stolen something if she ran away. Guanzon was ordered to work for 10 years to pay off the debt at $300 a month. Angela was forced to work 18-hour days and sleep on the hallway floor of an elder care facility in Long Beach. Her exploitation finally ended after a neighbour noticed the signs of labour trafficking and contacted the FBI.

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Witness B

There are an estimated 136,000 people living on conditions of modern slavery in the United Kingdom (Global Slavery Index 2018). According to the 2017 annual figures provided by the National Crime Agency, 5, 145 potential victims of modern slavery were referred through the National Referral Mechanism in 2017, of whom 2,454 were female, 2688 were male and 3 were transgender, with 41% of all referrals being children at the time of exploitation. People are subjected to slavery in the UK in the form of domestic servitude, labour exploitation, organ harvesting and sexual exploitation, with the largest number of potential victims originating from Albania, China, Vietnam and Nigeria. This data however does not consider the unknown numbers of victims that are not reported. Witness B was brought to the United Kingdom by her employer to work as a domestic worker to support her family. Upon arrival, Witness B was not fed, was subjected to physical abuse and was not paid for their work. After 12 weeks she ran away, scared for her life. Though Witness B was helped by a charity organisation under the National Referral Mechanism, she was still unable to work in the UK and provide for her family. Witness B tells of her experience of the current support system in place in the UK for human trafficking survivors, believing it inadequate for trafficked domestic workers such as herself.

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Bilal

There are an estimated 90,000 people living in modern slavey in Mauritania (GSI 2018). Mauritania is one of the last countries in the world where people are still born into hereditary slavery, which means they are literally owned by other people, and forced to work for masters their entire lives. People in slavery come from the Haratine ethnic group, historically enslaved by White Moors. They can be bought and sold, or given as gifts, and face a lifetime of exploitation and abuse. Rape of female slaves is common and their children also become slaves. They are Muslims, and many believe that it is Allah’s wish for them to be enslaved because they are told that their paradise is bound to their Master. In reality, Islam dictates that a Muslim cannot enslave a fellow Muslim. Since 2007 slavery has been criminalised in Mauritania but the law is not enforced and the government is reluctant to acknowledge the existence of the problem.  Born in 1955, Bîlal Ould Semetta was enslaved in inherited bondage throughout his childhood until he was 25 years old. At a young age he was sent to work for the cousin of the family to whom he was enslaved. He lived as a shepherd, cut off from his family, refused an education and banned from practising religion. It was not until the drought of 1973 that Bîlal was no longer needed and was allowed to return to his family.

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Mbarek B

There are an estimated 90,000 people living in modern slavey in Mauritania (GSI 2018). Mauritania is one of the last countries in the world where people are still born into hereditary slavery, which means they are literally owned by other people, and forced to work for masters their entire lives. People in slavery come from the Haratine ethnic group, historically enslaved by White Moors. They can be bought and sold, or given as gifts, and face a lifetime of exploitation and abuse. Rape of female slaves is common and their children also become slaves. They are Muslims, and many believe that it is Allah’s wish for them to be enslaved because they are told that their paradise is bound to their Master. In reality, Islam dictates that a Muslim cannot enslave a fellow Muslim. Since 2007 slavery has been criminalised in Mauritania but the law is not enforced and the government is reluctant to acknowledge the existence of the problem.  Mbareck ould Mahmoud was born into inherited slavery in 1970. Shared among different families, Mbareck was forced to live as a nomadic shepherd as well as performing domestic work. Mbareck and his sister were subjected to physical violence and often had their food restricted. He notes how some families were more lenient than others, some allowing him and his sister to go to Qoranic school while others threatened him if he ever went again. Mbareck notes how his life changed when someone who had previously escaped slavery visited the village and told him and his sister that they could do the same. After escaping and returning to their father, Mbareck began working odd jobs at a cinema for a small sum of money. Mbarek later became an Islamic preacher.

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Kiir Uchan Majok

There are an estimated 465,000 people living in modern slavery in Sudan (GSI 2018). Between 1983 and 2005, the central government of Sudan enslaved tens of thousands of black South Sudanese Christian and traditionalist people. It was part of a genocidal war against South Sudan, with a simple aim: to force South Sudan to become Arab and Muslim. Kiir Uchan Majok was captured by Muslim’s and enslaved in Sudan, forced to work on a farm under the threat of constant violence.

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Makuom Mawein Tong

There are an estimated 465,000 people living in modern slavery in Sudan (GSI 2018). Between 1983 and 2005, the central government of Sudan enslaved tens of thousands of black South Sudanese Christian and traditionalist people. It was part of a genocidal war against South Sudan, with a simple aim: to force South Sudan to become Arab and Muslim. Makuom was born in Akoch Atong Mabil village, north of Aweil town. As a young boy in 1980s his father enrolled him in a school near his village, but a few days later, news was everywhere that Arabs were planning to attack Dinka tribe villages. His father pulled him from school and kept him at home because he was so afraid of Arab attack. At night during the dry season, Arabs attacked his village. Makuom ran and hid in a nearby forest. Many people from his village ran to the forest, but Arabs followed them. His father was killed by Arabs and captured him with others. All children who were captured were forced to walk with Arabs to north Sudan.

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Titleeng Deng Chan

There are an estimated 465,000 people living in modern slavery in Sudan (GSI 2018). Between 1983 and 2005, the central government of Sudan enslaved tens of thousands of black South Sudanese Christian and traditionalist people. It was part of a genocidal war against South Sudan, with a simple aim: to force South Sudan to become Arab and Muslim.  Titleeng Deng Chan was captured in 2000 and forced to walk to North Sudan, raped by four men on the way and given to her ‘master’ upon arrival. She was finally liberated in 2016 after meeting with a slave retriever.

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Alom Kuol Koor

There are an estimated 465,000 people living in modern slavery in Sudan (GSI 2018). Between 1983 and 2005, the central government of Sudan enslaved tens of thousands of black South Sudanese Christian and traditionalist people. It was part of a genocidal war against South Sudan, with a simple aim: to force South Sudan to become Arab and Muslim.  Alom Kuol Koor was captured in 1998 and forced to walk to north Sudan. Upon arrival he was given to her ‘master’ and forced into domestic servitude. He was finally liberated in 2016 when he escaped and met with a slave retriever in a neighbouring village.

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Adup Aguer Deng

There are an estimated 465,000 people living in modern slavery in Sudan (GSI 2018). Between 1983 and 2005, the central government of Sudan enslaved tens of thousands of black South Sudanese Christian and traditionalist people. It was part of a genocidal war against South Sudan, with a simple aim: to force South Sudan to become Arab and Muslim. Adup Aguer Deng was captured in 1998 after being found hiding in a forest amidst fighting between the SPLA and Arabs. After being walked to northern Sudan she was forced to work on a farm and convert to Islam. Adup was finally freed in 2016.

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Dhan Deng Bol

There are an estimated 465,000 people living in modern slavery in Sudan (GSI 2018). Between 1983 and 2005, the central government of Sudan enslaved tens of thousands of black South Sudanese Christian and traditionalist people. It was part of a genocidal war against South Sudan, with a simple aim: to force South Sudan to become Arab and Muslim. Dhan Deng Bol was abducted in 1998. She tells of her experience that ended in those captured being divided amongst their kidnappers and forced into domestic service.

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Ram

There are an estimated 610,000 people living in conditions of modern slavery in Thailand (GSI 2018). The country is a source, destination and transit country for men, women and children subjected to forced labour and sex trafficking. Thailand’s commercial sex indusrty remains vast, increasing vulnerabilities for sex trafficking. Children are victims of sex trafficking in brothels, massage parlours, bars, karaoke lounges, hotels and private residences. People are trafficked from other Southeast Asian countries, Sri Lanka, Russia, Uzbekistan and some African countries. It is also a transit country for people from China, North Korea, Bangladesh, India and Burma. Ram ran away from an abusive home and was forced to live on the streets. One day while stealing food from a local market, Ram was kidnapped by a street gang. Ram was forced to steal from tourists during the day and at night was sold for sex to older men. Ram’s exploitation finally came to an end when his trafficker was arrested.