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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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Sally

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. Sally was trafficked into prostitution in the state of Nebraska. She tells of her struggles being believed by her family at the time and how she continues to struggle years later with feelings of fear and distrust.

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Becky

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. Becky was trafficked into prostitution in the state of Nebraska. She talks about her trafficking experience and stresses the importance of differentiating between those who have been trafficked and those who choose prostitution. In her own experience, failing to acknowledge this has meant that even after escape, women are still fighting to prove their point and what happened to them. Becky suggests that education in schools and among the police is important for the prevention of trafficking and in the treatment,  women receive after escape.

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Nancy

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. Nancy was trafficked into prostitution, subjected to sexual abuse and violence daily. Nancy stresses the importance of education and raising awareness for both the prevention of commercial sexual exploitation and understanding how to support survivors. She highlights the need for survivors be supported by police rather than interrogated for information and have access to wider networks of support.  

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Shannon

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. Shannon was trafficked into forced prostitution in the state of Nebraska. Here she tells of her experience of PTSD long after being rescued from her situation and stresses the central role of therapy in the road to recovery. Shannon underlines the importance of differentiating between those who choose prostitution and those who are trafficked into prostitution for commercial sexual exploitation.

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Romina

Countries in Latin America are source, transit and destination countries for trafficking in persons. People are exploited within their own countries and trafficked to other countries in the region, with Latin America being the primary source region for people trafficked to the United States. Major forms of trafficking in persons include commercial sexual exploitation of women and children, labour trafficking within national borders and among countries in the region, and the trafficking of illegal immigrants in Mexico and Central America. The two countries in Latin America and the Caribbean with the largest percentages of their population subjected to modern slavery, are Haiti and the Dominican Republic, according to the Walk Free Foundation. Romina was living on the streets with her father from the age of 9. One day her father was killed and Romina was put into the care of his friend Hugo. From the age of 13, Hugo trafficked Romina into commercial sexual exploitation. Romina was drugged and subjected to daily sexual violence until one day she was rescued during a police raid.

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Miguel

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. Miguel travelled from Mexico to the United States in search of work to support his family, including his sick son. Miguel along with five others paid for assistance to cross the boarder to the US and on to Florida where they were met by their ‘boss’ who informed them they would work to pay off their debts. Miguel tells of how he was forced to work under constant threats for little pay.

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Hada

There are an estimated 58,000 people living in conditions of modern slavery in Benin (GSI 2018). The country is an origin, transit and destination country for women and children subjected to trafficking in persons, primarily for forced labour and sex trafficking. Trafficking victims most often come from low-income families, and frequently lack formal education or basic identity documents including birth certificates and national identification. Internal trafficking primarily draws children from rural areas in the north to the urban south of Benin in search of economic opportunity. Children from Benin who are subjected to trafficking externally are transported to West and Central African countries. Some parents send children to wealthier families for educational or vocational opportunities; a practice called vidomegon. Some of these children are subjected to domestic servitude. Children from neighboring countries are forced to labor on farms, in commercial agriculture (particularly in the cotton sector), in artisanal mines, at construction sites, or as street or market vendors in Benin.  Hada is from the prefecture of Blitta. He is typical of many boys who go with traffickers without the knowledge of their parents and end up in the plantations of Benin where they perform long hours of difficult, hazardous and unpaid labour.

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Shadrack

In 1993, Burundi’s first democratically elected president was assassinated in a coup d’état. Melchior Ndadaye, of the majority Hutu ethnic group, had sought during his three months in office to ease tensions between Hutu and the minority Tutsi, which had ruled Burundi for decades and continued to dominate the army. In response, Hutu paramilitary groups formed, and as quid pro quo attacks between Hutu and Tutsi escalated, Burundi spiraled into civil war.Among the many victims of the war were children. Indignant over Ndadaye’s death and the denial of political power the Hutu believed their due, extremist factions exhorted teenagers and even younger children to join their ranks, and for more than a decade, thousands of children lived in Burundi’s forests in deplorable conditions, raiding villages, camps, and military installations, both suffering and committing horrific violence. Many were girls kept as sexual slaves for older soldiers. Shadrack joined the FNL rebellion after the army came to his village and killed a number of his relatives and neighbours, he was 13 years old. Shadrack tells of his experience as a child soldier and how he came to leave the rebellion.  

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Sesuna

There are an estimated 518,000 people living in modern slavery in Egypt, 465,000 in Sudan and an estimated 451,000 in Eritrea (GSI 2018). Since 2006 tens of thousands of Eritreans fleeing widespread human rights abuses and destitution have ended up in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. Until 2010, they passed through Sinai voluntarily and generally without any problems and crossed in to Israel. However, since then, Sudanese traffickers have kidnapped Eritreans in eastern Sudan and sold them to Egyptian traffickers in Sinai who have subjected at least hundreds to violence in order to extort large sums of money from their relatives. Sesuna* was travelling to Israel for work when she was kidnapped by a smuggler in Sinai and raped.

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Noel Gomez

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. Noel was coerced into becoming a prostitute in Seattle when she was 16. She spent 15 years in the life, trying to escape numerous times and being subjected to physical and sexual abuse on a daily basis. When she was finally able to escape, Noel managed to get a job, a degree and founded her own organisation to help other women and girls subjected to forced sexual exploitation in the city.

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Srey Neth

There are an estimated 261,000 people living in modern slavery in Cambodia (GSI 2018). The country was renowned as a sex tourism destination in the 1990s and this legacy is still prevalent today with women and girls trafficked within the thriving sex industry in Cambodia's major cities. Despite significant attempts to curb CSE, NGOs report the industry has been pushed underground and sex offenders are still able to purchase sex with children through an intermediary rather than more overt selling of sex in brothels. Boys and young men are also vulnerable to sexual exploitation, with many entering the massage industry due to a lack of training and skills.  Srey Neth is a young Cambodian victim of human trafficking. In this story she speaks of her experience transitioning from victim to survivor. At 14 she was sold by her mother to a pimp for $300; a week later he sold her virginity for the same price then he forced her to serve 10-20 men per night afterwards. Her refusal was met with beatings or electrocution. Srey Neth was later rescued by police and a non-governmental organization. During her recovery, which unsurprisingly has taken more than five years, she was diagnosed with HIV.

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Anita D

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.  Anita D was 19 years old when she took a job as a maid in India. However, upon arrival she discovered she would be forced to work in a brothel. Anita was locked in a room for three years and forced to provide sexual services for up to 40 men a day. Anita tells of the importance of status to survival in the brothel, how she became a madam, and how finding religion showed her the path to freedom.   

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Elena

The Global Slavery Index 2018 estimates that on any given day in 2016, an estimated 3.6 million men, women and children were living in modern slavery in Europe and Central Asia. 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.  Elena and her family were struggling to get by, being forced to steal food to have something to eat, when she was offered a way for her family to be taken care of and find work. However, instead of a job, F and her family were forced to beg for their recruiters. Though F tried to escape, she was caught by the traffickers and threatened with her life if she tried to leave again. 

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Andrei A

It is estimated that there are 105,000 people living in conditions of modern slavery in Spain (GSI 2018). Spain is a source, transit and destination country for men, women and children subjected to forced labour and sex trafficking. Women from from Easter Europe, particularly Romania, South America and Nigeria are subjected to sex trafficking, while men and women from South and East Asia are subjected to forced labour in the textile, agricultural, construction, industrial and service sectors. Unaccompanied migrant children continue to be trafficked for sexual exploitation and forced begging.    Andrei took up an offer for a job in Spain, however upon arrival he was forced to beg on the streets under constant surveillance and threats.

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Sadhna

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.   Sadhna was 11 years old when her father passed away. Her family was left with no money in their village, so they moved to Kolkata in search of work. Sadhna was struggling as a house cleaner when a local woman offered her a new job. Sadhna followed the woman to a house filled with strange men and beer. She was given a glass of water and immediately fell unconscious. She woke to find she had been raped and was now to be sold for sex from a private brothel, she was 14 years old. Sadhna was rescued by IJM and now shares her story with other girls in India.

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Destaye

There are an estimated 614,000 people living in conditions of modern slavery in Ethiopia (GSI 2018). Child marriage remains a deeply rooted tradition in Ethiopian communities with two in five girls being married before their 18th birthday. Child marriage is perpetuated in the country by poverty, lack of access to education and an absence of economic opportunities. Moreover, 80% of women have experienced female genital mutilation/cutting, with over half of these circumcisions occurring before a girl's first birthday. Destaye was 11 years old when she was chosen by a priest in his twenties to be his wife. Her husband said he wanted a young, uneducated bride to ensure her virginity. He promised Destaye she could continue her education after giving birth, however childcare and having to work with her husband farming has meant she has been unable to. Destaye wanted to be a doctor.

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Jamie B

There are an estimated 403,000 people living in conditions of modern slavery in the United States (GSI 2018).  Among this number, are children subjected to forced marriage. A study published on child marriage in 2011 determined that the prevalence of child marriage among women in the US was 8.9 percent, meaning that over 9.4 million US women were married at age 16 or younger. Forced marriage and child marriage are understudied problems within the United States and more research is needed to determine what drives its occurrence.   Jamie was forced in to an arranged marriage when she was 19, to a man who beat and raped her and abused their children.

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Jasmine Grace

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.  Jasmine Grace was 18 years old when she first met Brian. They began to see each other often and Brian bought Jasmine Grace nice things. One night, Brian took Jasmine Grace to see her friend who had become engaged in prostitution after also meeting a man. Her friend told her about the amazing life she had, how much money she was making and how her ‘boyfriend’ took care of her. After being taught how to service johns, Jasmine Grace recalls how Brian kept her under his control through beatings, violence and threats for 5 years. Though Jasmine Grace managed to escape her trafficker, she notes how her life spiralled as she became homeless and addicted to heroin, taking another 3 years before she was able to get clean. 

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Yogendra

The Global Slavery Index 2018 estimates that on any given day there were nearly 8 million people living in modern slavery in India. While the bonded labour system is formally abolished and criminalised, recent research indicated that bonded labour is still prevalent in India. A 2016 report found that in the state of Tamil Nadu, 351 of 743 spinning mills used bonded labour schemes, otherwise known as Sumangali schemes. Similarly in granite quarries, wage advances and loans with an interest ranging from 24% to 36% are used to bond workers. Situations of debt bondage are often aggravated by the need to raise emergency funds or take on loans for health crises.  Yogendra tells of his experience as a bonded labourer in Uttar Pradesh. He was approached by a broker offering him 50,000 rupees and a hectare of land if he worked a year. After signing a blank piece of paper, Yogendra received just 37,000 rupees and was forced to work under threats and verbal abuse. Yogendra tells of having to work off money borrowed for his sister’s wedding and his children’s school fees.