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Marcela Loaiza (Narrative 2)

There are an estimated 37,000 people living in modern slavery in Japan (GSI 2018). The country is the destination for men, women and children trafficked for forced labour and commercial sexual exploitation. The majority of trafficking victims are foreign women who migrate willingly seeking work but find themselves trapped in debt bondage, having to work in domestic and sex work to pay off fees incurred. Despite warning from the U.N., it is reported that human trafficking is on the rise in Japan. Marcela Loaiza was 21 years old when she was lured from Colombia, trapped in a sex trafficking ring, and forced by Japan’s Yakuza mafia to sell sex on the streets of Tokyo. After 18 months of sexual exploitation, she escaped, so ill that her hair and teeth were falling out. Today Loaiza, 35, runs a non-governmental organisation that bears her name to raise awareness about human trafficking among girls, women and men in Colombia and the United States, where she now lives. Loaiza spoke with Thomson Reuters Foundation by telephone from the Colombian city of Cali and recalled how she escaped forced prostitution and the mafia, and how she moved past the pain and guilt and healed.

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Emelia

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. Emelia was trafficked from Romania to the UK by a man who kept her for 3 months. Subjected to sexual violence, she was forced into prostitution where she was raped by at least seven or eight men daily. Emelia was able to escape after borrowing a girl’s phone and calling her parents. However, the man who trafficked her escaped the police and she remains is scared of retribution

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Grace

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. Grace was trafficked from Nigeria to the UK into forced prostitution by a local woman who used the traditional African belief of Juju to threaten her. Eventually she escaped and told the police what happened but her trafficker and the woman that sold her fled the UK.

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Tanya

The Global Slavery Index 2018 estimates that on any given day in 2016, an estimated 3.6 million men, women and chidlren were living in modern slavery in Europe and Central Asia (GSI 2018). People are subjected to exploitation in forced labour, debt bondage and forced sexual exploitation. Government response in Europe is particularly strong with a number of regional bodies holding them account and monitoring responses, and while countries in Central Asia have taken steps to tack modern slavery, more needs to be done.  Tanya was trafficked from Ukraine after being offered a job in another country. Her brother was sick and in need of an operation and her family was poor. She was sold and forced into prostitution.

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Melody

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. Melody was brought from Nigeria to the UK by a family friend at 12 years old. Upon arrival she was taken to a woman’s house where she was forced to clean every day for long hours under constant verbal abuse. This woman started bringing men to the house to sexually abuse Melody. Melody was kicked out of the house one day when she refused to sleep with one of the men the woman had brought to her. She spent months homeless on the street where she was subjected to further sexual violence. She was finally able to leave her situation with the help of an advisor from Refugee Council.

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Natasha

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. “Natasha” shares her story of being bought and sold from Romania to Italy and on to Germany and Belgium. Her final stop was Britain where she was put to work in a north London sauna. “Natasha” was finally freed from her nightmare in a police raid, a year after her abduction.

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Anya and Katerina

There are an estimated 509,000 people living in modern slavery in Turkey (GSI 2018). As a source, transit and destination location for immigration, human trafficking is prevalent in the country. Trafficking victims in Turkey are primarily from Central and South Asia, Eastern Europe, Azerbaijan, Indonesia, Morocco, and Syria. Women are mainly trafficked to Turkey as sex workers. Anya and Katerina were trafficked to Turkey by a woman named Olga who offered them a job. She took them to a café where they were taken by men to an apartment. That first night they were told to get dressed for work, taken to a hotel, and forced into prostitution.

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Katia

There are an estimated 509,000 people living in modern slavery in Turkey (GSI 2018). As a source, transit and destination location for immigration, human trafficking is prevalent in the country. Trafficking victims in Turkey are primarily from Central and South Asia, Eastern Europe, Azerbaijan, Indonesia, Morocco, and Syria. Women are mainly trafficked to Turkey as sex workers. Katia was trafficked into commercial sexual exploitation from Ukraine to Turkey. She was drugged and beaten and forced to sleep with men against her will on a daily basis.

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Brinda

The Global Slavery Index 2018 estimates that on any given day there were nearly 8 million people living in modern slavery in India. The GSI 2018 reports an emerging trend in northeast India where organised trafficking syndicates operate along the open and unmanned international borders, duping or coercing young girls seeking employment outside their local area in to forced sexual exploitation. Many women and girls are lured with the promise of a good job but then forced in to sex work, with a 'conditioning' period involving violence, threats, debt bondage and rape.  Brinda* was kidnapped and sold to a man who forced her into prostitution in Delhi. She was beaten and subjected to sexual exploitation daily.

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Zinab

ISIS has singled out the Yazidi minority, notably its women and children, for particularly brutal treatment. In August 2014, ISIS fighters abducted hundreds, possibly thousands, of Yezidi men, women and children who were fleeing the IS takeover from the Sinjar region, in the north-west of the country. Hundreds of the men were killed and others were forced to convert to Islam under threat of death. Younger women and girls, some as young as 12, were separated from their parents and older relatives and sold, given as gifts or forced to marry ISIS fighters and supporters. Zinab and her children were kidnapped by ISIS from her village. She was taken to Syria and sold four times, subjected to sexual violence and forced religious conversion. Zinab used a smuggling network to escape Syria after 20 months.

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Amelia

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. Amelia’s story began when she was trafficked from her home in an Eastern European country. Her ‘boyfriend’ told her that he could get them both jobs in the UK. He went ahead and sent plane tickets for her to join him. However, when she arrived at the airport she was met by a strange man. He drove her to a flat where she was raped and forced into prostitution. She eventually escaped from her traffickers and was supported by Black Country Women’s Aid.

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Kat Rosenblatt

There are an estimated 403,000 people living in modern slavery in the United States (GSI 2018). Sex trafficking exists throughout the country. Traffickers use violence, threats, lies, debt bondage and other forms of coercion to compel adults and children to engage in commercial sex acts against their will. The situations that sex trafficking victims face vary, many victims become romantically involved with someone who then forces them into prostitution. Others are lured with false promises of a job, and some are forced to sell sex by members of their own families. Victims of sex trafficking include both foreign nationals and US citizens, with women making up the majority of those trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation. In 2015, the most reported venues/industries for sex trafficking included commercial-front brothels, hotel/motel-based trafficking, online advertisements with unknown locations, residential brothels, and street-based sex trafficking. Kat Rosenblatt grew up in an abusive home in South Florida. After her mother left her father and too Kat to a hotel, Kat was befriended by a young girl who over the course of a month groomed her into sex tourism. The first time Kat Rosenblatt’s traffickers attempted to sell her to an older man, she resisted and was left for dead in the street. Though she was able to escape this situation, Kat was trafficked again by a friend’s father who later planted drugs in her school bag. Kat was suspended and became a drug addict. However, after overcoming her addictions, Kat obtained a PhD, wrote a book about her experience and founded her organisation There Is Hope For Me.

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Sharmila Wijeyakumar

There are an estimated 403,000 people living in modern slavery in the United States (GSI 2018). Sex trafficking exists throughout the country. Traffickers use violence, threats, lies, debt bondage and other forms of coercion to compel adults and children to engage in commercial sex acts against their will. The situations that sex trafficking victims face vary, many victims become romantically involved with someone who then forces them into prostitution. Others are lured with false promises of a job, and some are forced to sell sex by members of their own families. Victims of sex trafficking include both foreign nationals and US citizens, with women making up the majority of those trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation. In 2015, the most reported venues/industries for sex trafficking included commercial-front brothels, hotel/motel-based trafficking, online advertisements with unknown locations, residential brothels, and street-based sex trafficking. Sharmila ran away from her home when she was a teenager. She found herself working in a nightclub where she was trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation. Sharmila was helped to escape by a patron of the brothel where she was being kept. However, finding herself homeless she agreed to work in another brothel. She was rescued by her family from the second brothel. While training to be a chef in Florida, Sharmila finally felt safe enough to share her trafficking experience with people she knew. However, 48 hours after doing so, she was trafficked for a third time. A church helped Sharmila escape these traffickers and she now works for the organisation Rahab’s Daughters to help other people escape their traffickers.

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Robin Flemminb

There are an estimated 403,000 people living in modern slavery in the United States (GSI 2018). Sex trafficking exists throughout the country. Traffickers use violence, threats, lies, debt bondage and other forms of coercion to compel adults and children to engage in commercial sex acts against their will. The situations that sex trafficking victims face vary, many victims become romantically involved with someone who then forces them into prostitution. Others are lured with false promises of a job, and some are forced to sell sex by members of their own families. Victims of sex trafficking include both foreign nationals and US citizens, with women making up the majority of those trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation. In 2015, the most reported venues/industries for sex trafficking included commercial-front brothels, hotel/motel-based trafficking, online advertisements with unknown locations, residential brothels, and street-based sex trafficking. Robin Flemming was 20 years old when she met a man who seemed like everything she was looking for. He was loving, caring and promised her the world. It wasn’t until she moved to Texas to live with him that he began using her for profit. Flemming’s trafficker, whom she now refers to as “the monster,” brought her to a club one day and told her she was going to audition to be a dancer. During her first night of dancing, she earned $3,000. Throughout their marriage, they moved across the country and lived in more than six states. Flemming said her trafficker abused her verbally and mentally, raped her numerous times and occasionally kicked out of her home, leaving her with no place to go. After secretly stashing money at work, Flemming raised about $10,000, which she used to escape from her trafficker. She went to work one day and decided that she would not come back. It wasn't until two and a half years later that her trafficker finally started leaving her alone. Flemming was able to divorce her trafficker in 2007, a year after she saw him for the last time. She then had to work to get her life back to normal. Flemming stayed in exotic dancing for six more years. After counseling, continuous nightmares and a year of being sober, her life has returned to normal. She now lives in Columbia with her husband and daughter and runs a day-care. She is currently trying to repair her relationship with her other daughter, who also lives in Columbia and is married.

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Gaby

There are an estimated 403,000 people living in modern slavery in the United States (GSI 2018). Sex trafficking exists throughout the country. Traffickers use violence, threats, lies, debt bondage and other forms of coercion to compel adults and children to engage in commercial sex acts against their will. The situations that sex trafficking victims face vary, many victims become romantically involved with someone who then forces them into prostitution. Others are lured with false promises of a job, and some are forced to sell sex by members of their own families. Victims of sex trafficking include both foreign nationals and US citizens, with women making up the majority of those trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation. In 2015, the most reported venues/industries for sex trafficking included commercial-front brothels, hotel/motel-based trafficking, online advertisements with unknown locations, residential brothels, and street-based sex trafficking. Gaby was suffering from drug and alcohol addiction when she posted an ad online to find a job in modelling or web-camming. Her ad was answered by a college professor who rented an apartment for her and other women to stay in where men would come in to purchase sex. Gaby was afraid to leave because her trafficker had all of her information. He had her ID, her social security card, and he knew where she lived. Gaby was in a controlled environment where she was allowed to leave. She always went back because she was afraid of what would happen if she didn't. One day she found a church, went inside, and wrote a suicide note on a prayer card. The church's female pastor found the note and tracked down Gaby. The pastor told her to not go back and she gave Gaby a place to stay in her family's home. Gaby never went back, she went to rehab and became part of Wellspring Living Program for young girls and women who have been trafficked. She now supports herself with a government job and is raising her 8-year old son. 

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Penelope

There are an estimated 403,000 people living in modern slavery in the United States (GSI 2018). Sex trafficking exists throughout the country. Traffickers use violence, threats, lies, debt bondage and other forms of coercion to compel adults and children to engage in commercial sex acts against their will. The situations that sex trafficking victims face vary, many victims become romantically involved with someone who then forces them into prostitution. Others are lured with false promises of a job, and some are forced to sell sex by members of their own families. Victims of sex trafficking include both foreign nationals and US citizens, with women making up the majority of those trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation. In 2015, the most reported venues/industries for sex trafficking included commercial-front brothels, hotel/motel-based trafficking, online advertisements with unknown locations, residential brothels, and street-based sex trafficking. Penelope’s* father became involved in criminal activity when she was a child which led to the repossession of their house. They moved into his friend’s house and when they became unable to pay rent, her father forced Penelope into child sexual exploitation, offering her to his friends as payment. One night when she was nine years old, Penelope was taken by her father’s friend and locked her in a room, where she was raped for days by adult men. After a few days of ‘breaking in’, Penelope was trafficked across the backroads of Mississippi, forced to see 15-20 men each night. After three years, Penelope’s mother came for her after being left by her father. It was a long road to recovery, Penelope entered into an abusive relationship as a teenager and suffered with alcohol addiction in college. She was finally able to receive help from a friend who introduced her to a church.

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Avery

There are an estimated 403,000 people living in modern slavery in the United States (GSI 2018). Sex trafficking exists throughout the country. Traffickers use violence, threats, lies, debt bondage and other forms of coercion to compel adults and children to engage in commercial sex acts against their will. The situations that sex trafficking victims face vary, many victims become romantically involved with someone who then forces them into prostitution. Others are lured with false promises of a job, and some are forced to sell sex by members of their own families. Victims of sex trafficking include both foreign nationals and US citizens, with women making up the majority of those trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation. In 2015, the most reported venues/industries for sex trafficking included commercial-front brothels, hotel/motel-based trafficking, online advertisements with unknown locations, residential brothels, and street-based sex trafficking. Avery* was 12 years old when she was trafficked into commercial sexual exploitation by a woman who promised her a job in modelling. She was kidnapped, beaten, raped, deprived of food and water, and when she returned home remained under the control of her trafficker until she was 18 years old.

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Terry Forliti

There are an estimated 403,000 people living in modern slavery in the United States (GSI 2018). Sex trafficking exists throughout the country. Traffickers use violence, threats, lies, debt bondage and other forms of coercion to compel adults and children to engage in commercial sex acts against their will. The situations that sex trafficking victims face vary, many victims become romantically involved with someone who then forces them into prostitution. Others are lured with false promises of a job, and some are forced to sell sex by members of their own families. Victims of sex trafficking include both foreign nationals and US citizens, with women making up the majority of those trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation. In 2015, the most reported venues/industries for sex trafficking included commercial-front brothels, hotel/motel-based trafficking, online advertisements with unknown locations, residential brothels, and street-based sex trafficking. A series of traumatic events lead to a 30-year drug addiction for Terry Forliti. After her addiction lead to the breakdown of an abusive marriage, Terry found herself on the streets. She met a man who would eventually become her pimp and force her into prostitution for the next five years. Terry was eventually arrested and while spending time in jail was introduced to the Breaking Free organization who offered a housing programme to poor mothers trapped in prostitution. Terry spent three years in the programme, obtained a BA and began working for the organization helping others who had been through similar experiences

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Monica

There are an estimated 403,000 people living in modern slavery in the United States (GSI 2018). Sex trafficking exists throughout the country. Traffickers use violence, threats, lies, debt bondage and other forms of coercion to compel adults and children to engage in commercial sex acts against their will. The situations that sex trafficking victims face vary, many victims become romantically involved with someone who then forces them into prostitution. Others are lured with false promises of a job, and some are forced to sell sex by members of their own families. Victims of sex trafficking include both foreign nationals and US citizens, with women making up the majority of those trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation. In 2015, the most reported venues/industries for sex trafficking included commercial-front brothels, hotel/motel-based trafficking, online advertisements with unknown locations, residential brothels, and street-based sex trafficking. Monica was trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation in the state of Nebraska. She talks about the importance of removing stigma and having conversations to raise awareness about what can lead to human trafficking. In terms of supporting those who have been trafficked, Monica puts emphasis on access to health care, social services, juvenile justice, the education system and transportation

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Alice

There are an estimated 403,000 people living in modern slavery in the United States (GSI 2018). Sex trafficking exists throughout the country. Traffickers use violence, threats, lies, debt bondage and other forms of coercion to compel adults and children to engage in commercial sex acts against their will. The situations that sex trafficking victims face vary, many victims become romantically involved with someone who then forces them into prostitution. Others are lured with false promises of a job, and some are forced to sell sex by members of their own families. Victims of sex trafficking include both foreign nationals and US citizens, with women making up the majority of those trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation. In 2015, the most reported venues/industries for sex trafficking included commercial-front brothels, hotel/motel-based trafficking, online advertisements with unknown locations, residential brothels, and street-based sex trafficking. Alice was trafficked into commercial sexual exploitation in 1999 in Nebraska. She talks about the importance of education for the prevention of trafficking and teaching police and medical staff how to treat people who have been trafficked. Alice also stresses the importance of safe houses, ensuring women who have been trafficked have a safe place to go and available support.