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Ella

 There are an estimated 155,000 people living in modern slavery in South Africa (GSI 2018). South Africa remains a source, transit and destination country for men, women and children subjected to forced labour and sex trafficking. South African children were recruited from poor, rural areas to urban centres, such as Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban, and Bloemfontein, where girls were subjected to sex trafficking and domestic servitude and boys are forced to work in street vending, food service, begging, criminal activities, and agriculture. Local criminal rings organized child sex trafficking, Russian and Bulgarian crime syndicates facilitated trafficking within the Cape Town commercial sex industry, and Thai and Chinese nationals often organized the sex trafficking of Asian men and women. Nigerian syndicates dominated the commercial sex industry in several provinces. To a lesser extent, syndicates recruited South African women to Europe and Asia, where some are forced into prostitution, domestic servitude, or drug smuggling. At 13 years old, Ella* was abducted by a boy from her school and forced to marry him. She was taken from Lesotho to South Africa, kept in the house and sexually assaulted every night. She was finally able to escape after three months.

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Chepkorir

There are an estimated 328,000 people living in conditions of slavery in Kenya (GSI 2018). While Kenya has committed to eliminate child, early and forced marriage by 2030 in line with target 5.3 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, 23% of Kenyan girls are still married before their 18th birthday. According to UNICEF, Kenya has the 20th highest absolute number of child brides in the world. Forced child marriage is driven by gender inequality with the belief that girls are inferior to boys. It is exacerbated by poverty, natural disasters and cultural traditions such as female genital mutilation and Samburu whereby a close family relative will approach a girl’s parents with red Samburu beads and place the necklace around the girl’s neck as a form of engagement.  Chepkorir was forced to work tending her father’s cattle from a young age, preventing her from receiving any education. When she was 10 years old, Chepkorir’s father arranged her marriage to a 76 year old man. She ran away and found refuge in a church who put her in contact with HAART Kenya. At HAART’s shelter, Chepkorir was able to get an education and secure employment. The COVID-19 outbreak has however led to the postponement of her employment.

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Soneeya

There are an estimated 171,000 people living in modern slavery in Nepal. Internal trafficking is significant in Nepal. Girls are trafficked internally for forced labour, sexual exploitation and forced marriage. A significant number of girls are estimated to be trafficked for sexual exploitation in Kathmandu’s entertainment sector and across the open border with India to Mumbai and other urban centres. Recent research in Kathmandu found that between 40 and 60 per cent of the females interviewed in entertainment sector workplaces (massage parlours, dance bars and cabin restaurants) were under the age of 19. Poverty is a significant driving factor for the exploitation and forced marriage of young girls in the country as although levels are declining, an estimated 10 million people live on incomes between USD1.90 and USD3.20 a day. When Soneeya was 15 years old, she was forced to marry a man 13 years older. She was subjected to physical and sexual abuse daily.

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Chantin

There are an estimated 171,000 people living in modern slavery in Nepal. Internal trafficking is significant in Nepal. Girls are trafficked internally for forced labour, sexual exploitation and forced marriage. A significant number of girls are estimated to be trafficked for sexual exploitation in Kathmandu’s entertainment sector and across the open border with India to Mumbai and other urban centres. Recent research in Kathmandu found that between 40 and 60 per cent of the females interviewed in entertainment sector workplaces (massage parlours, dance bars and cabin restaurants) were under the age of 19. Poverty is a significant driving factor for the exploitation and forced marriage of young girls in the country as although levels are declining, an estimated 10 million people live on incomes between USD1.90 and USD3.20 a day. Chantin was forced to marry a man she did not know when she was 21 years old. Her husband and his family would beat her, restrict food and force her to work ‘like a servant’.

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Ashia C

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 labor 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. According to Human Rights Watch, thirty-seven percent of girls in Nepal marry before age 18 and 10 percent are married by age 15, in spite of the fact that the minimum age of marriage under Nepali law is 20 years of age. UNICEF data indicates that Nepal has the third highest rate of child marriage in Asia, after Bangladesh and India   Ashia C was forced to marry at an early age. Within the marriage she was subjected to physical violence.

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Medamani Nagamma

It is estimated that almost 8 million people are living in conditions of modern slavery in India (GSI 2018). The skewed sex ratio in some regions of India has fuelled the trafficking and selling of women and young girls as brides within India. Women are reportedly sold off into marriage by their families, sometimes at a young age, and end up enduring severe abuse, rape and exploitation by their husbands. It is also reported that women and girls from impoverished backgrounds have been lured by promises of marriage by younger men from urban areas, then forced into sex work once married. Medamani Nagamma was forced to marry at a young age. Within the marriage she was forced to do housework and raped by her husband. After a complicated pregnancy it was suggested that she undergo sterilisation.

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Ms Lee C

The Global Slavery Index 2018 estimates that on any given day in 2016 there were over 3.8 million people living in conditions of modern slavery in China. Women and girls from South Asia, Southeast Asia and Africa are trafficked in to forced marriage in the country for fees of up to £30,000. The gender imbalance caused by the One Child Policy and the cultural preference for male children, has caused a shortage of women which has led to the trafficking of women to be sold as brides. As a result, many women find themselves either deceived by promises of employment, sold or abducted and forced into marrying Chinese men who have paid for them North Korean women who cross the border into China fleeing hunger and repression in their homeland frequently fall victim to human traffickers who sell them to Chinese men searching for wives. These women describe being sold as “brides” to Chinese men, who often put them to backbreaking labour and subject them to constant fear, physical assault, and sexual abuse. Ms Lee has been sold to several Chinese men. The most recent husband forced her to have a sterilization operation which has left her with lasting health issues.

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Ms Lee B

The Global Slavery Index 2018 estimates that on any given day in 2016 there were over 3.8 million people living in conditions of modern slavery in China. Women and girls from South Asia, Southeast Asia and Africa are trafficked in to forced marriage in the country for fees of up to £30,000. The gender imbalance caused by the One Child Policy and the cultural preference for male children, has caused a shortage of women which has led to the trafficking of women to be sold as brides. As a result, many women find themselves either deceived by promises of employment, sold or abducted and forced into marrying Chinese men who have paid for them North Korean women who cross the border into China fleeing hunger and repression in their homeland frequently fall victim to human traffickers who sell them to Chinese men searching for wives. These women describe being sold as “brides” to Chinese men, who often put them to backbreaking labour and subject them to constant fear, physical assault, and sexual abuse. After Ms Lee lost all of her family members, a North Korean couple trafficked her to China and sold her to a man who is now her husband.

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Ngalali

There are an estimated 336,000 people living in modern slavery in Tanzania (GSI 2018). According to Equality Now, 31 percent of girls in Tanzania are married before they turn 18. Poverty is the primary driving force of child marriage in the country. Families who are unable to pay for a girl’s school fees, food, or other basic costs see child marriage as a way to ensure a daughter’s security. A daughter’s bride price is often tied to her virginity and is seen as a way to alleviate poverty, with families receiving cattle, money, or other valuable goods. “Cutting,” known as Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), is the partial or complete removal of external female genitalia for non-medical reasons. FGM and child marriage are not always linked, and the relationship between the two practices may vary within the same country, but in some contexts, girls may undergo FGM to prepare them for marriage. When Ngalali, a member of the Massai people in Tanzania, was 13, she made a decision that saved her life. Thanks to the enforcement of Tanzania’s child marriage laws, Ngalali was spared a very different future than the one she envisioned for herself.

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Loyia

There is an estimated 304,000 people living in modern slavery in Uganda (GSI 2018). Under the Children Act (2016), the minimum legal age of marriage in Uganda is 18 years old with no exceptions. However, there are challenges with enforcing the ban as child marriage is not defined within the penal code, and perpetrators often do not face justice unless there are signs of serious violent assault. Growing up in rural Uganda, Loyia went to school for just three years as her parents could not afford her education and at 15-years-old she was forced to marry.

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Habiba

There are an estimated 157,000 people living in modern slavery in Cameroon. Child traffickers often use the promise of education or a better life in the city to convince rural parents to give their children over to an intermediary, who then exploits the children in sex trafficking or forced labour. Sometimes relatives subject children to sex trafficking within the country. In Cameroon, one in every three girls is married before the age of 18. After Habiba’s father died, her mother struggled to support the family. At 14, she was forced into marriage with a stranger who would beat her and abandoned her after the birth of her twins, one of which died shortly after.

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Chinara

There are an estimated 17,000 people living in modern slavery in Georgia (GSI 2018). According to Equality Now, child marriages and bride kidnappings are still not uncommon in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, the North Caucasus part of Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. In Armenia and Georgia the practice of bride kidnapping has largely disappeared in recent decades, though there still remain some largely unreported incidents in certain communities. Bride kidnappings and forced marriages disproportionately affect adolescent girls in many of the reviewed countries and give rise to sexual violence offenses against them. Chinara was 14 when her parents forced her to leave school and arranged her marriage to a 19-year-old man from her village. She informed the police who made her father sign a document agreeing not to marry her until she was 18. However, when she turned 17, they began planning her wedding again. She refused and sought help from local authorities.

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Asseel

There are an estimated 10,000 people living in modern slavery in Lebanon (GSI 2018). Men, women, and children among the estimated 1.3 million Syrian refugees in Lebanon are at high risk of sex trafficking and forced labour. There are some restrictions on Syrians’ ability to work legally in Lebanon and the enforcement of visas and residence permit laws increase this population’s vulnerability to trafficking. Syrians are commonly involved in the exploitation of other Syrians in Lebanon, particularly targeting refugees fleeing the conflict. Syrian children are reportedly vulnerable to forced early marriages—which can lead to commercial sexual exploitation and forced labour—and children displaced within the country continue to be subjected to forced labour, particularly by organized begging rings.  At the age of nine, Asseel* left her native Syria with her family, leaving behind friends and loved ones as the war ravaged her country. Her family began a new life as refugees in Lebanon.

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Aasrita

It is estimated that almost 8 million people are living in conditions of modern slavery in India (GSI 2018). The skewed sex ratio in some regions of India has fuelled the trafficking and selling of women and young girls as brides within India. Women are reportedly sold off into marriage by their families, sometimes at a young age, and end up enduring severe abuse, rape and exploitation by their husbands. It is also reported that women and girls from impoverished backgrounds have been lured by promises of marriage by younger men from urban areas, then forced into sex work once married. Aasrita* left her village with her sister with a man who claimed to be in love with her sister. They were trafficked to Haryana, separated and sold for marriage.

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Jang Mi Kyung

The Global Slavery Index 2018 estimates that there are 2,640,000 people living in conditions of modern slavery in The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea). Men, women and children are subjected to forced labour and sex trafficking. Government oppression in the DPRK prompts many North Koreans to flee the country in ways that make them vulnerable to human trafficking in destination countries. Many of the estimated 10 000 North Korean women and girls who have migrated illegally to China to flee abuse and human rights violation are particularly vulnerable to trafficking. Some lure, drug, detain or kidnap North Korean women on their arrival, others offer jobs but subsequently force the women into prostitution, domestic service, or forced marriage. If found, Chinese authorities often repatriate victims back to the DPRK where they are subjected to harsh punishment including forced labour in labour camps or death.Jang Mi Kyung left North Korea in 2008 to find a job in China. However, upon arrival she was sold and forced to marry a Chinese man against her will. 

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Geeta K

There are an estimated 171,000 people living in modern slavery in Nepal. 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 labor 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. According to Human Rights Watch, thirty-seven percent of girls in Nepal marry before age 18 and 10 percent are married by age 15, in spite of the fact that the minimum age of marriage under Nepali law is 20 years of age. UNICEF data indicates that Nepal. Geeta says she was either ten or twelve years old when she got married. After about eight years of marriage, she has a seven-year-old daughter, a five-year-old son, and a three-year-old son.

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Rajita T

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 labor 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. According to Human Rights Watch, thirty-seven percent of girls in Nepal marry before age 18 and 10 percent are married by age 15, in spite of the fact that the minimum age of marriage under Nepali law is 20 years of age. UNICEF data indicates that Nepal has the third highest rate of child marriage in Asia, after Bangladesh and India.Rajita T. was married when she was 12 or 13 to her husband who was about 18 years old

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Rajita Atri

There are an estimated 171,000 people living in modern slavery in Nepal. 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 labor 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. According to Human Rights Watch, thirty-seven percent of girls in Nepal marry before age 18 and 10 percent are married by age 15, in spite of the fact that the minimum age of marriage under Nepali law is 20 years of age. UNICEF data indicates that Nepal has the third highest rate of child marriage in Asia, after Bangladesh and India.Rajitra was forced to marry at a young age, causing complications with her pregnancies. 

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Narendra Chamar

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 labor 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. According to Human Rights Watch, thirty-seven percent of girls in Nepal marry before age 18 and 10 percent are married by age 15, in spite of the fact that the minimum age of marriage under Nepali law is 20 years of age. UNICEF data indicates that Nepal has the third highest rate of child marriage in Asia, after Bangladesh and India. Narendra was one and half years old at the time of his wedding and his wife was six months old. When he was 16, his bride came to live with him and they met for the first time since the wedding.

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Ramita T.

There are an estimated 171,000 people living in modern slavery in Nepal. 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 labor 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. According to Human Rights Watch, thirty-seven percent of girls in Nepal marry before age 18 and 10 percent are married by age 15, in spite of the fact that the minimum age of marriage under Nepali law is 20 years of age. UNICEF data indicates that Nepal has the third highest rate of child marriage in Asia, after Bangladesh and India. Ramita T. married at age 12 to escape an abusive home environment.