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Rayowa

There are an estimated 1,386,000 people living in modern slavery in Nigeria (GSI 2018). Since 2009, Nigeria’s homegrown Islamist insurgent movement, Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati wal-Jihad, popularly known as Boko Haram, which means “Western Education is Forbidden,” has waged a violent campaign against the Nigerian government in its bid to impose Islamic law. The attacks have increasingly targeted civilians, mainly in the northeastern states of Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa. Borno State, the birthplace of Boko Haram, has suffered the highest number of attacks. A range of issues, including widespread poverty, corruption, security force abuse, and longstanding impunity for a range of crimes have created fertile ground in Nigeria for militant armed groups like Boko Haram.In some cases, women and children are abducted from predominantly Christian areas and forced to convert to Islam. As an attempt to escape, some would pretend to be Muslim. Where forced conversion did not lead to the release of abductees, it usually led to forced marriage to members of Boko Haram. 38-year-old Rayowa* was abducted in April 2014 with five other Christian women and two infants.

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Hauwa

There are an estimated 1,386,000 people living in modern slavery in Nigeria (GSI 2018). Since 2009, Nigeria’s homegrown Islamist insurgent movement, Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati wal-Jihad, popularly known as Boko Haram, which means “Western Education is Forbidden,” has waged a violent campaign against the Nigerian government in its bid to impose Islamic law. The attacks have increasingly targeted civilians, mainly in the northeastern states of Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa. Borno State, the birthplace of Boko Haram, has suffered the highest number of attacks. A range of issues, including widespread poverty, corruption, security force abuse, and longstanding impunity for a range of crimes have created fertile ground in Nigeria for militant armed groups like Boko Haram. Hauwa was abducted by Boko Haram in 2013. She was forced to convert to Islam and kill for the insurgents. Hauwa was able to escape forced marriage in the camp where she was being held by pretending to have stomach pains and being sent to the hospital.

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Gloria

There are an estimated 1,386,000 people living in modern slavery in Nigeria (GSI 2018). Since 2009, Nigeria’s homegrown Islamist insurgent movement, Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati wal-Jihad, popularly known as Boko Haram, which means “Western Education is Forbidden,” has waged a violent campaign against the Nigerian government in its bid to impose Islamic law. The attacks have increasingly targeted civilians, mainly in the northeastern states of Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa. Borno State, the birthplace of Boko Haram, has suffered the highest number of attacks. A range of issues, including widespread poverty, corruption, security force abuse, and longstanding impunity for a range of crimes have created fertile ground in Nigeria for militant armed groups like Boko Haram. Gloria was abducted by Boko Haram in 2014. She was forced to convert to Islam, was married off to an insurgent and subjected to sexual violence.

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Hadiza

There are an estimated 1,386,000 people living in modern slavery in Nigeria (GSI 2018). Since 2009, Nigeria’s homegrown Islamist insurgent movement, Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati wal-Jihad, popularly known as Boko Haram, which means “Western Education is Forbidden,” has waged a violent campaign against the Nigerian government in its bid to impose Islamic law. The attacks have increasingly targeted civilians, mainly in the northeastern states of Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa. Borno State, the birthplace of Boko Haram, has suffered the highest number of attacks. A range of issues, including widespread poverty, corruption, security force abuse, and longstanding impunity for a range of crimes have created fertile ground in Nigeria for militant armed groups like Boko Haram. Hadiza was abducted from her village by Boko Haram in November 2013. Though she tried to escape, she was captured, forced to convert to Islam and married off to an insurgent.

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Promise

There are an estimated 136,000 people living on conditions of modern slavery un 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.   Promise grew up in Nigeria. When she was 17 years old, she was caught having sexual relations with another girl. She, along with her partner, were dragged outside and beaten. Her partner did not survive. After two days a friend helped her escape and she ran to her aunt’s house for help. Promise was told to meet a family friend in Port Harcourt. She was flown to the UK and upon arrival was stopped and held by immigration. As she was underage she was placed in foster care. However, Promise ran away to meet the man her aunt had told her would be able to help her achieve her dream of becoming a footballer. However Promise had no idea that her aunt had sold her into prostitution.

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Bukola Oriola (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. Bukola Oriola, a Nigerian international news journalist was on a visit to New York to cover the UN 50th Anniversary, when she was invited by the man who it had arranged would be her husband to visit him in Minnesota. Upon arrival, he convinced her to stay, organising a spousal visa. However, Bukola soon found herself confined to the home with her movements monitored at all times. She was finally able to escape her situation after the birth of her child with the help of a public health nurse.

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Aicha

It is estimated that there are around 875, 000 people living in conditions of modern slavery in Nigeria. It remains a source, transit and destination country for women and children trafficked for the purposes of forced labour and commercial sexual exploitation. Within Nigeria, women and girls are trafficked primarily for domestic servitude and commercial sexual exploitation. Boys are trafficked for forced labour in street vending, agriculture, mining, stone quarries, and as domestic servants. Religious teachers also traffic boys, called almajiri, for forced begging. Aicha was told she would be staying with a woman and helping her with the housework. However instead, Aicha found herself locked in a stranger’s house and forced to work longs hours taking care of children and doing all the cooking and cleaning. Aicha stayed there for 3 years before she returned to her village. Through Plan International she has learned dress-making, and hopes to have her own workshop.

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Esther B

Forced child labour remains a source of concern in Nigeria, according the International Labor Organization, the number of children working under the age of 14 in Nigeria is estimated at 15 million. These jobs include street vending, begging, car washing and shoe shining, while a large number of children work as domestic servants and farm hands. According to UNICEF, causes of child labour include widespread poverty, rapid urbanisation, breakdown in extended family affiliations, high school drop out rates and lack of enforcement of legal instruments meant to protect children. Esther was trafficked to Nigeria at 13 years old after her sister told her they were going on holiday. When she didn’t return, Plan Togo alerted the police to her disappearance and she was eventually rescued and returned home. Esther is now pursuing her dream of becoming a midwife.

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Rachida

Forced child labour remains a source of concern in Nigeria, according the International Labor Organization, the number of children working under the age of 14 in Nigeria is estimated at 15 million. These jobs include street vending, begging, car washing and shoe shining, while a large number of children work as domestic servants and farm hands. According to UNICEF, causes of child labour include widespread poverty, rapid urbanisation, breakdown in extended family affiliations, high school drop out rates and lack of enforcement of legal instruments meant to protect children. Rachida was trafficked into domestic work at 10 years old in Nigeria by her mother. One day when she saw her brother, she decided to run away. Now, with the help of Plan International, Rachida is training to be a seamstress.

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Dede

Forced child labour remains a source of concern in Nigeria, according the International Labor Organization, the number of children working under the age of 14 in Nigeria is estimated at 15 million. These jobs include street vending, begging, car washing and shoe shining, while a large number of children work as domestic servants and farm hands. According to UNICEF, causes of child labour include widespread poverty, rapid urbanisation, breakdown in extended family affiliations, high school drop out rates and lack of enforcement of legal instruments meant to protect children. Dede was trafficked to Abuja, the Nigerian capital when she was 13 years old. Forced to sell petrol under the threat of physical danger. Dede was able to leave her situation, however remains in the capital working as a porter girl.

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Bella

Forced child labour remains a source of concern in Nigeria. According the International Labor Organization, the number of children working under the age of 14 in Nigeria is estimated at 15 million. These jobs include street vending, begging, car washing and shoe shiners, while a large number work as domestic servants and farm hands. According to UNICEF, causes of child labour include widespread poverty, rapid urbanisation, breakdown in extended family affiliations, high school drop out rates and lack of enforcement of legal instruments meant to protect children. Bella was trafficked at 9 years old to Nigeria for domestic work. She was eventually helped by Plan International and is now learning to become a hairdresser.

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Hanou

Forced child labour remains a source of concern in Nigeria, according the International Labor Organization, the number of children working under the age of 14 in Nigeria is estimated at 15 million. These jobs include street vending, begging, car washing and shoe shiners, while a large number work as domestic servants and farm hands. According to UNICEF, causes of child labour include widespread poverty, rapid urbanisation, breakdown in extended family affiliations, high school drop out rates and lack of enforcement of legal instruments meant to protect children. Hanou was trafficked at 9 years old when her parents sent her to Nigeria to work as a servant.

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Shelia

Despite having the lowest regional prevalence of modern slavery in the world, Europe remains a destination, and to a lesser extent, a source region for the exploitation of men, women and children in forced labour and commercial sexual exploitation. According to the most recent Eurostat findings, European Union (EU) citizens account for 65 percent of identified trafficked victims within Europe. These individuals mostly originate from Eastern Europe, including Romania, Bulgaria, Lithuania and Slovakia. In Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina, the European Parliament has identified corruption and the judicial system as reform challenges towards accession talks within the EU. In Greece, the turbulent economic situation has increased vulnerability for populations seeking employment and livelihood opportunities. In Greece, unemployment reached 24.4 percent in January 2016 with a youth unemployment rate of 51.9 percent.  Sheila was 15 years old and living in Nigeria with her parents when a woman offered to take her abroad to work and get an education. However, upon arrival she was forced to carry out all the housework, as well as provide sexual services for older men.

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Charlotte B

In 2016, the estimates of modern slavery in Sub-Saharan Africa accounted for approximately 13.6 percent of the world's total enslaved population. As evident from surveys conducted in Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa and Ethiopia by Walk Free Foundation, slavery in Sub-Saharan Africa takes the form of forced labour and forced marriage. In Ghana, survey results suggest that there are an estimated 103,300 people enslaved in that country, of which 85 percent are in forced labour, and 15 percent are in forced marriage. For forced labour, the main industries of concern are farming and fishing, retail sales and then manual labour and factory work. In Nigeria, survey results suggest that forced labour is predominantly within the domestic sector, although it was impossible to survey in three regions due to high conflict. In South Africa, the industries most reported in the survey include the commercial sex industry, manual labour industries such as construction, manufacturing and factory work, and drug trafficking. Charlotte travelled from Croydon to Nigeria in 2014 to work as a tutor. However, once she arrived in Lagos her passport was confiscated, and she was prevented from leaving the house. Charlotte was able to return home after her parents rang her employers day and night, pressuring them to let her come home. When she arrived home, Charlotte became a member of the Croydon Community Against Trafficking in order to educate people on the nature of human trafficking.

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Agnes

The United Kingdom remains a significant destination for men, women and children trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labour. The latest government statistics derived from the UK National Referral Mechanism in 2014 reveal 2,340 potential victims of trafficking from 96 countries of origin, of whom 61 percent were female and 29 percent were children. At least one child a day is trafficked into Britain according the to the Human Trafficking Foundation, with children forced to work in the sex industry, domestic service, cannabis cultivation or as criminal on the streets.  Child victims of human trafficking primarily originate from Romania, Vietnam, Nigeria, and from within the UK itself. Agnes was running away from an abusive home life when she met a woman who took her in. Agnes was offered the chance to travel to the UK to train to become a doctor under the promise she would repay the cost of travel. However, upon arriving, she was forced to provide sexual services to men as part of her ‘repayment’. Agnes was able to escape at the age of 21 but was forced to continue sex work in order to be able to afford to live. It was not until Agnes arrived at City Hearts that she was able to obtain skills and childcare and begin building for a better future.

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Aduke

Despite having the lowest regional prevalence of modern slavery in the world, Europe remains a destination, and to a lesser extent, a source region for the exploitation of men, women and children in forced labour and commercial sexual exploitation. Trafficking for sexual exploitation is the most widespread for of modern slavery with an 84% of victims trafficked for this purpose. The majority of those trafficked for this purpose are women and young girls who often originate from Eastern Europe within the EU as well as Sub-Saharan Africa, with the majority of people being trafficked from Nigeria to various parts of Europe including Italy, France, Spain and the UK through an array of complex trafficking networks.  Aduke, a Nigerian teenager, was sold as an adult and forced in to prostitution on the streets in both the south of France and the UK. 

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Princess

Despite having the lowest regional prevalence of modern slavery in the world, Europe remains a destination, and to a lesser extent, a source region for the exploitation of men, women and children in forced labour and commercial sexual exploitation. Trafficking for sexual exploitation is the most widespread form of modern slavery with an 84% of victims trafficked for this purpose. The majority of those trafficked for this purpose are women and young girls who often originate from Eastern Europe within the EU as well as Sub-Saharan Africa, with the majority of people being trafficked from Nigeria to various parts of Europe including Italy, France, Spain and the UK through an array of complex trafficking networks.    Princess, 43, was trafficked from Nigeria into prostitution in Italy 

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Grace A

The UK National Crime Agency estimates 3,309 potential victims of human trafficking came into contact with the State or an NGO in 2014. The latest government statistics derived from the UK National Referral Mechanism in 2014 reveal 2,340 potential victims of trafficking from 96 countries of origin, of whom 61 percent were female and 29 percent were children. Of those identified through the NRM, the majority were adults classified as victims of sexual exploitation followed by adults exploited in the domestic service sector and other types of labour exploitation. The largest proportion of victims was from Albania, followed by Nigeria, Vietnam, Romania and Slovakia. Grace was just 10 years old when her parents died and she was forced to live on the streets of Lagos. A few years later she met a woman who said she was looking for someone to help her around the house. Grace stayed there for 2 years. At the age of 15 she was taken to England where she was forced to work as a prostitute. Grace was able to escape after 3 months; however, she was taken to a detention centre by authorities after her asylum claim was rejected, despite being told by the police she had been trafficked.

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Olabisi

The UK National Crime Agency estimates 3,309 potential victims of human trafficking came into contact with the State or an NGO in 2014. The latest government statistics derived from the UK National Referral Mechanism in 2014 reveal 2,340 potential victims of trafficking from 96 countries of origin, of whom 61 percent were female and 29 percent were children. Of those identified through the NRM, the majority were adults classified as victims of sexual exploitation followed by adults exploited in the domestic service sector and other types of labour exploitation. The largest proportion of victims was from Albania, followed by Nigeria, Vietnam, Romania and Slovakia. Olabisi’s initial claim to asylum was refused and, although she accessed legal representation to appeal this decision, she chose to leave Unseen’s project and her whereabouts are currently unknown.

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Idora

The UK National Crime Agency estimates 3,309 potential victims of human trafficking came into contact with the State or an NGO in 2014. The latest government statistics derived from the UK National Referral Mechanism in 2014 reveal 2,340 potential victims of trafficking from 96 countries of origin, of whom 61 percent were female and 29 percent were children. Of those identified through the NRM, the majority were adults classified as victims of sexual exploitation followed by adults exploited in the domestic service sector and other types of labour exploitation. The largest proportion of victims was from Albania, followed by Nigeria, Vietnam, Romania and Slovakia. Idora was enslaved in sex work after being promised lucrative cleaning work in the UK to help her save for a university education. Her story highlights that those who escape slavery may yet feel forced to return because of threats made against their lives, or those of their family members.