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Hania

It is estimated that over 3 million people are living in conditions of modern slavery in Pakistan (GSI 2018). Children are subjected to modern slavery in the form of forced marriage. It is estimated that 21% of girls in Pakistan are married before the age of 18. Child marriage in the country is connected with tradition, culture and custom. It occasionally involves the transfer of money, settlement of debts or exchange of daughters sanctioned by a Jirga or Panchayat.     This woman tells of how despite asking to continue with her education, at the age if 19 was forced to travel to Pakistan to marry. Despite being subjected to physical violence, this woman’s family maintained that she must stay with her husband. After five years, she finally left the abuse and is now happily married to a man of her choice. 

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Jasmin A

There are an estimated 136,000 people living in conditions of modern slavey in the United Kingdom (GSI 2018). UK children continue to be subjected to sex trafficking within the country. Children in the care system and unaccompanied migrant children are particularly vulnerable to trafficking.The United Kingdom remains a significant destination for men, women and children trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labour. 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.   Jasmin was 13 years old when she was introduced to a man named Nav who was in his 20s. Jasmin began taking drugs and missing school to be with him. One day, Nav raped Jasmin and took photographs. For a year Jasmin was forced to sleep with men to pay off Nav’s debts.  

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Bercy Salon

Letitia Kamaye: You Should Know Me

Artist’s Statement Kongo: You Should Know Me was my selfish way of learning more about my past, my ancestors through the images of my kinfolk. Unfortunately, the archive institutions I approached all asked for paperwork I could not supply; money I could not pay and questions I did not understand how to answer.

Only one missionary based in Ghent; the Sisters of Charity of Jesus and Mary, opened its doors and visual records to me and through them I was able to see a small percentage of the Congolese story before me. Though happy to have this access, I was not too overjoyed by everything I saw. There was a host of missing stories not recorded, stories that my family and friends families experienced. Chapters and verses missing from the identity of the Congolese narrative. Thus Kongo: You Should Know Me evolved to Kongo Archives.

Kongo Archives is extremely personal to me not merely because I am Congolese but also because there is a lot about my country I do not know and am searching for. I believe it is also something desperately needed, especially as our country’s political structure hangs in the global balance.

It’s a necessity even!

Culture; traditions; customs; language and pretty much everything has always been passed down orally through the stories in African customs, and now too many of those who did the passing down are fast passing away, taking with them all our history and rightful heritage. Taking away my rightful heritage, my story, my future and connection to a national identity.

It is a cliché to say, however Kongo Archives gives a voice to every Congolese person, travelling further than just those within the confines of the project. The archives is the stories of the past, the present and a storage unit where future stories can be placed when they become part of our inevitable past.

It [Kongo Archives] is here to topple the power structures of the single story of Congolese identity, working to reform the world’s understanding of, and have embedded notions questioned of a people whose stories and lives were second to the arrival of their colonial history and identity killers.

Bringing light to the stories which humanise the “so-called beasts from the dark continent” which continues till this day to suffer from decades of war and conflict whilst also being the wealthiest in natural minerals; culture and fight for peace one day.

Being Congolese I see our hidden presence in the “strangest” places, though this should not be a “strange” sight, this is the importance which representation brings! Change to people’s (and my own) opinions and views of those they are not well informed about. Kongo Archives will bring light to the multilayers of the Congolese people both residing in and out of The Motherland. It is important to have this representation to solidify the very absent Congolese presence outside of the Democratic Republic of Congo, in places such as London; Paris and Belgium as a positive display of unity; positive contribution and patriotism.

Kongo Archives aims to bring the Congolese heritage full circle through exposing the parts of our (Congolese) past and current state the world has and continues to fail to reveal. Breaking down the stereotypes of the poorest; “most dangerous place on earth to be a woman” to a country with a vast potential of peace; unconditional source of love and fight given the chance for change within its power structures.

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The Bash

Letitia Kamayi: You Should Know Me

Artist’s Statement Kongo: You Should Know Me was my selfish way of learning more about my past, my ancestors through the images of my kinfolk. Unfortunately, the archive institutions I approached all asked for paperwork I could not supply; money I could not pay and questions I did not understand how to answer.

Only one missionary based in Ghent; the Sisters of Charity of Jesus and Mary, opened its doors and visual records to me and through them I was able to see a small percentage of the Congolese story before me. Though happy to have this access, I was not too overjoyed by everything I saw. There was a host of missing stories not recorded, stories that my family and friends families experienced. Chapters and verses missing from the identity of the Congolese narrative. Thus Kongo: You Should Know Me evolved to Kongo Archives.

Kongo Archives is extremely personal to me not merely because I am Congolese but also because there is a lot about my country I do not know and am searching for. I believe it is also something desperately needed, especially as our country’s political structure hangs in the global balance.

It’s a necessity even!

Culture; traditions; customs; language and pretty much everything has always been passed down orally through the stories in African customs, and now too many of those who did the passing down are fast passing away, taking with them all our history and rightful heritage. Taking away my rightful heritage, my story, my future and connection to a national identity.

It is a cliché to say, however Kongo Archives gives a voice to every Congolese person, travelling further than just those within the confines of the project. The archives is the stories of the past, the present and a storage unit where future stories can be placed when they become part of our inevitable past.

It [Kongo Archives] is here to topple the power structures of the single story of Congolese identity, working to reform the world’s understanding of, and have embedded notions questioned of a people whose stories and lives were second to the arrival of their colonial history and identity killers.

Bringing light to the stories which humanise the “so-called beasts from the dark continent” which continues till this day to suffer from decades of war and conflict whilst also being the wealthiest in natural minerals; culture and fight for peace one day.

Being Congolese I see our hidden presence in the “strangest” places, though this should not be a “strange” sight, this is the importance which representation brings! Change to people’s (and my own) opinions and views of those they are not well informed about. Kongo Archives will bring light to the multilayers of the Congolese people both residing in and out of The Motherland. It is important to have this representation to solidify the very absent Congolese presence outside of the Democratic Republic of Congo, in places such as London; Paris and Belgium as a positive display of unity; positive contribution and patriotism.

Kongo Archives aims to bring the Congolese heritage full circle through exposing the parts of our (Congolese) past and current state the world has and continues to fail to reveal. Breaking down the stereotypes of the poorest; “most dangerous place on earth to be a woman” to a country with a vast potential of peace; unconditional source of love and fight given the chance for change within its power structures.

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P.O.T

Letitia Kamayi: You Should Know Me

Artist’s Statement Kongo: You Should Know Me was my selfish way of learning more about my past, my ancestors through the images of my kinfolk. Unfortunately, the archive institutions I approached all asked for paperwork I could not supply; money I could not pay and questions I did not understand how to answer.

Only one missionary based in Ghent; the Sisters of Charity of Jesus and Mary, opened its doors and visual records to me and through them I was able to see a small percentage of the Congolese story before me. Though happy to have this access, I was not too overjoyed by everything I saw. There was a host of missing stories not recorded, stories that my family and friends families experienced. Chapters and verses missing from the identity of the Congolese narrative. Thus Kongo: You Should Know Me evolved to Kongo Archives.

Kongo Archives is extremely personal to me not merely because I am Congolese but also because there is a lot about my country I do not know and am searching for. I believe it is also something desperately needed, especially as our country’s political structure hangs in the global balance.

It’s a necessity even!

Culture; traditions; customs; language and pretty much everything has always been passed down orally through the stories in African customs, and now too many of those who did the passing down are fast passing away, taking with them all our history and rightful heritage. Taking away my rightful heritage, my story, my future and connection to a national identity.

It is a cliché to say, however Kongo Archives gives a voice to every Congolese person, travelling further than just those within the confines of the project. The archives is the stories of the past, the present and a storage unit where future stories can be placed when they become part of our inevitable past.

It [Kongo Archives] is here to topple the power structures of the single story of Congolese identity, working to reform the world’s understanding of, and have embedded notions questioned of a people whose stories and lives were second to the arrival of their colonial history and identity killers.

Bringing light to the stories which humanise the “so-called beasts from the dark continent” which continues till this day to suffer from decades of war and conflict whilst also being the wealthiest in natural minerals; culture and fight for peace one day.

Being Congolese I see our hidden presence in the “strangest” places, though this should not be a “strange” sight, this is the importance which representation brings! Change to people’s (and my own) opinions and views of those they are not well informed about. Kongo Archives will bring light to the multilayers of the Congolese people both residing in and out of The Motherland. It is important to have this representation to solidify the very absent Congolese presence outside of the Democratic Republic of Congo, in places such as London; Paris and Belgium as a positive display of unity; positive contribution and patriotism.

Kongo Archives aims to bring the Congolese heritage full circle through exposing the parts of our (Congolese) past and current state the world has and continues to fail to reveal. Breaking down the stereotypes of the poorest; “most dangerous place on earth to be a woman” to a country with a vast potential of peace; unconditional source of love and fight given the chance for change within its power structures.

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Kings

Letitia Kamayi: You Should Know Me

Artist’s Statement Kongo: You Should Know Me was my selfish way of learning more about my past, my ancestors through the images of my kinfolk. Unfortunately, the archive institutions I approached all asked for paperwork I could not supply; money I could not pay and questions I did not understand how to answer.

Only one missionary based in Ghent; the Sisters of Charity of Jesus and Mary, opened its doors and visual records to me and through them I was able to see a small percentage of the Congolese story before me. Though happy to have this access, I was not too overjoyed by everything I saw. There was a host of missing stories not recorded, stories that my family and friends families experienced. Chapters and verses missing from the identity of the Congolese narrative. Thus Kongo: You Should Know Me evolved to Kongo Archives.

Kongo Archives is extremely personal to me not merely because I am Congolese but also because there is a lot about my country I do not know and am searching for. I believe it is also something desperately needed, especially as our country’s political structure hangs in the global balance.

It’s a necessity even!

Culture; traditions; customs; language and pretty much everything has always been passed down orally through the stories in African customs, and now too many of those who did the passing down are fast passing away, taking with them all our history and rightful heritage. Taking away my rightful heritage, my story, my future and connection to a national identity.

It is a cliché to say, however Kongo Archives gives a voice to every Congolese person, travelling further than just those within the confines of the project. The archives is the stories of the past, the present and a storage unit where future stories can be placed when they become part of our inevitable past.

It [Kongo Archives] is here to topple the power structures of the single story of Congolese identity, working to reform the world’s understanding of, and have embedded notions questioned of a people whose stories and lives were second to the arrival of their colonial history and identity killers.

Bringing light to the stories which humanise the “so-called beasts from the dark continent” which continues till this day to suffer from decades of war and conflict whilst also being the wealthiest in natural minerals; culture and fight for peace one day.

Being Congolese I see our hidden presence in the “strangest” places, though this should not be a “strange” sight, this is the importance which representation brings! Change to people’s (and my own) opinions and views of those they are not well informed about. Kongo Archives will bring light to the multilayers of the Congolese people both residing in and out of The Motherland. It is important to have this representation to solidify the very absent Congolese presence outside of the Democratic Republic of Congo, in places such as London; Paris and Belgium as a positive display of unity; positive contribution and patriotism.

Kongo Archives aims to bring the Congolese heritage full circle through exposing the parts of our (Congolese) past and current state the world has and continues to fail to reveal. Breaking down the stereotypes of the poorest; “most dangerous place on earth to be a woman” to a country with a vast potential of peace; unconditional source of love and fight given the chance for change within its power structures.

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Mo

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.  Mo was living in Myanmar (Burma) when he was forced to leave after the persecution of Muslim people. He was staying in a refugee camp with his family which he describes as a ‘prison’. After running away he travelled by lorry to the UK. He was put in to a house and forced to work in a restaurant for little pay and no days off. Mo is now in a safe house, waiting for his passport and papers to be able to work.

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Fumi

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.  Fumi grew up in West Africa. She went to university and studied to be a teacher. She fell in love and got married at a young age, but the man turned out to be violent and abusive. He eventually beat her so badly that she spent three days in hospital. After this experience, Fumi decided to go to the UK to start a new life as a teacher. Unable to get a visa, her mother paid a lot of money for Fumi to travel on a fake passport. However, the men who arranged her travel were traffickers, and upon arrival in the UK she was forced to work in a brothel. She was trapped there for four months.

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Anna C

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.   Anna was living in Albania when she ran away with her boyfriend to escape an arranged marriage. She travelled to Kosovo where she thought she would build a life with the man she loved. However, instead Anna was forced in to a room, locked up and was repeatedly raped by up to ten men a day. Anna was moved from place to place, never knowing where she was. She was finally able to escape while in England and was referred to Hestia. 

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Dinh

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.   Dinh was an orphan and homeless in Vietnam after his parents died in a mining accident. Living on the streets and shining shoes, one day one of Dinh’s customers said she could help him get work in the UK. However, upon arrival he was taken by two men and forced to cook and clean for his traffickers for 5 years. Subjected to physical violence and threats, Dinh was also forced to cultivate cannabis plants and was arrested by the police, spending 7 months in prison before he was found not guilty and taken to Hestia.

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Angela

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.   Angela was living in Albania when she met a man who promised her a new life in Italy. However, instead of the new life she expected, Angela was taken to a house, raped and forced to work as a prostitute. After 5 years she was sold and trafficked to the UK. Angela was able to escape but lived on the streets in Brixton until she was helped by a woman who took her to a police station. Angela was able to get the help she needed at a safe house run by Hestia.

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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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Gracie

It is estimated that there are over 9.2 million people living in conditions of modern slavery across Africa, with 101,000 of these in Central African Republic (GSI 2018). When considering forms of modern slavery, the rate of forced marriage (4.8 victims per 1000 people) was higher than the rate of forced labour (2.8 victims per 1000 people). Over half of all victims of forced labour were held in debt bondage, with similar proportions of men and women in the region trapped through dept. An estimated 400,000 people in Africa were victims of forced sexual exploitation. Within the region, Eritrea, Burundi, and Central African Republic were the countries with the highest prevalence of modern slavery; however, Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo had the highest absolute number and accounted for over one-quarter (26.3 percent) of all victims in the region. Gracie was 11 when her family was killed due to political and ethnic tension in Central Africa. A family friend took her to a neighbouring country to live with a woman where she was forced to provide sexual services to men. After two years in this brothel, Gracie was taken by a man called Abasi to London where she was once again forced in to prostitution. Gracie was able to escape after a year of sexual abuse and confinement. Told she should seek asylum Gracie appealed to the immigration office, however her passport had been faked to state she was 22 rather than 15 and she was arrested for document forgery. With the help of the NSPCC and a solicitor, Gracie was able to challenge local child services who stated she was an adult and able to find a safe place to live.

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Lam

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.  Lam was working to support his family after his father’s death when he heard he could earn more money overseas. Agents arranged for Lam to travel to the UK. Upon arrival he was taken to a house full of plants and told it was his job to look after them. His movement restricted and forced to sleep on the floor, Lam was threatened with violence and death if he tried to leave. After five weeks the house was raided by police and Lam was arrested. With the help of the NSPCC Child Trafficking Advice Centre, Lam was able to leave the young offenders institute and was placed in to foster care.

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Kate

There are an estimated 3.6 million people living in modern slavery across Europe and Central Asia (GSI 2018). This region had a prevalence of 3.9 people in modern slavery for every 1,000 people in the region. Men, women and children are trafficked in to 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. Kate grew up in the UK with little support from her family. At the age of 18 she went to university, but hated it and soon left. She took up an invitation from a man she had gotten to know through an online forum to join him in Europe for a holiday. Once she arrived, she was locked in a room and forced in to prostitution. For over a year Kate was forced to provide sexual services, her passport was locked in a safe, along with the money she earned for him each day. One day, Kate was able to escape. Taking her passport and some money from the safe after having memorised the code, Kate bought a flight back to England and once she arrived, went to her previous social worker’s office who called the police. Six month later, Kate reached out to the Sophie Hayes Foundation saying she wished to be ‘normal’ again.

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Ruth

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.    Ruth was trafficked from Eastern Europe to the UK in to prostitution. Though she was able to escape with the help of a man, she was tricked again and forced to be ‘his own personal slave’. She was finally able to escape with the help of another man to whom she is now married. Ruth tells of how she found the Sophie Hayes Foundation and what it has meant to her.

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Amy

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.  Amy’s sexual exploitation began at the age of 11 after fights with her mother led to long hours spent in local parks and town centres. After a few months she began spending time with one man who invited her to spend time with him and his friends at their flat. However, once there Amy was subjected to physical abuse daily. Not knowing how to escape or where she would go, Amy’s abuse continued until she was 13.

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Natalie

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.  Natalie was trafficked to England and forced in to prostitution. Though she was able to escape after a while, she was left homeless and penniless, forcing her to return to the sex industry. Natalie tried to apply for a national insurance number and go on benefits, but her claim was rejected. Natalie was also pregnant. Homeless and pregnant, Natalie made the difficult decision to get an abortion and moved in with one of her clients, who restricted her movement and confined her to the house. Eventually in 2013, Natalie was able to escape her enslavement.

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Tamzin

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.   Tamzin was a teenager when she met a man and soon fell in love with him. However, after a couple of years this man became obsessive, controlling everything Tamzin did, forcing her to have sex and store drugs for him. Here Tamzin describes her story in her own words.   

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Laila

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. Laila’s family moved from Iran to Cyprus and then to the UK after her mother was diagnosed with Leukaemia. Laila was 12 years old when her mother died, and her father remarried. Her stepmother began planning Laila and her sister’s marriages to older men against their will, fearful that they were becoming too westernised. Not knowing what else to do, Laila and her sisters ran away