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Joanna

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. Joanna was born in a small town in Europe/ When she was 18 she met a man who said he wanted to marry her. They began seeing each other and Joanna became pregnant. Her boyfriend took Joanna to the United States where their child was born. Unable to read, Joanna was told to sign a piece of paper at the hospital and never saw her child again. She was taken to an apartment building where other young girls like her were being kept. Joanna was forced to provide sexual services, raped multiple times a day. She was finally able to escape one day when she became ill.

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Kiir Uchan Majok

There are an estimated 465,000 people living in modern slavery in Sudan (GSI 2018). Between 1983 and 2005, the central government of Sudan enslaved tens of thousands of black South Sudanese Christian and traditionalist people. It was part of a genocidal war against South Sudan, with a simple aim: to force South Sudan to become Arab and Muslim. Kiir Uchan Majok was captured by Muslim’s and enslaved in Sudan, forced to work on a farm under the threat of constant violence.

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Makuom Mawein Tong

There are an estimated 465,000 people living in modern slavery in Sudan (GSI 2018). Between 1983 and 2005, the central government of Sudan enslaved tens of thousands of black South Sudanese Christian and traditionalist people. It was part of a genocidal war against South Sudan, with a simple aim: to force South Sudan to become Arab and Muslim. Makuom was born in Akoch Atong Mabil village, north of Aweil town. As a young boy in 1980s his father enrolled him in a school near his village, but a few days later, news was everywhere that Arabs were planning to attack Dinka tribe villages. His father pulled him from school and kept him at home because he was so afraid of Arab attack. At night during the dry season, Arabs attacked his village. Makuom ran and hid in a nearby forest. Many people from his village ran to the forest, but Arabs followed them. His father was killed by Arabs and captured him with others. All children who were captured were forced to walk with Arabs to north Sudan.

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Kolong Guot Mayuol

There are an estimated 465,000 people living in modern slavery in Sudan (GSI 2018). Between 1983 and 2005, the central government of Sudan enslaved tens of thousands of black South Sudanese Christian and traditionalist people. It was part of a genocidal war against South Sudan, with a simple aim: to force South Sudan to become Arab and Muslim. Kolong Guot Mayuol was abducted in 1992, taken to northern Sudan and forced to work in a cattle camp.

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Abuk Akot Wol

There are an estimated 465,000 people living in modern slavery in Sudan (GSI 2018). Between 1983 and 2005, the central government of Sudan enslaved tens of thousands of black South Sudanese Christian and traditionalist people. It was part of a genocidal war against South Sudan, with a simple aim: to force South Sudan to become Arab and Muslim. Abuk Akot Wol was kidnapped one morning and taken to northern Sudan. She tells of her experience.

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Titleeng Deng Chan

There are an estimated 465,000 people living in modern slavery in Sudan (GSI 2018). Between 1983 and 2005, the central government of Sudan enslaved tens of thousands of black South Sudanese Christian and traditionalist people. It was part of a genocidal war against South Sudan, with a simple aim: to force South Sudan to become Arab and Muslim.  Titleeng Deng Chan was captured in 2000 and forced to walk to North Sudan, raped by four men on the way and given to her ‘master’ upon arrival. She was finally liberated in 2016 after meeting with a slave retriever.

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Alom Kuol Koor

There are an estimated 465,000 people living in modern slavery in Sudan (GSI 2018). Between 1983 and 2005, the central government of Sudan enslaved tens of thousands of black South Sudanese Christian and traditionalist people. It was part of a genocidal war against South Sudan, with a simple aim: to force South Sudan to become Arab and Muslim.  Alom Kuol Koor was captured in 1998 and forced to walk to north Sudan. Upon arrival he was given to her ‘master’ and forced into domestic servitude. He was finally liberated in 2016 when he escaped and met with a slave retriever in a neighbouring village.

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Adup Aguer Deng

There are an estimated 465,000 people living in modern slavery in Sudan (GSI 2018). Between 1983 and 2005, the central government of Sudan enslaved tens of thousands of black South Sudanese Christian and traditionalist people. It was part of a genocidal war against South Sudan, with a simple aim: to force South Sudan to become Arab and Muslim. Adup Aguer Deng was captured in 1998 after being found hiding in a forest amidst fighting between the SPLA and Arabs. After being walked to northern Sudan she was forced to work on a farm and convert to Islam. Adup was finally freed in 2016.

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Dhan Deng Bol

There are an estimated 465,000 people living in modern slavery in Sudan (GSI 2018). Between 1983 and 2005, the central government of Sudan enslaved tens of thousands of black South Sudanese Christian and traditionalist people. It was part of a genocidal war against South Sudan, with a simple aim: to force South Sudan to become Arab and Muslim. Dhan Deng Bol was abducted in 1998. She tells of her experience that ended in those captured being divided amongst their kidnappers and forced into domestic service.

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Ram

There are an estimated 610,000 people living in conditions of modern slavery in Thailand (GSI 2018). The country is a source, destination and transit country for men, women and children subjected to forced labour and sex trafficking. Thailand’s commercial sex indusrty remains vast, increasing vulnerabilities for sex trafficking. Children are victims of sex trafficking in brothels, massage parlours, bars, karaoke lounges, hotels and private residences. People are trafficked from other Southeast Asian countries, Sri Lanka, Russia, Uzbekistan and some African countries. It is also a transit country for people from China, North Korea, Bangladesh, India and Burma. Ram ran away from an abusive home and was forced to live on the streets. One day while stealing food from a local market, Ram was kidnapped by a street gang. Ram was forced to steal from tourists during the day and at night was sold for sex to older men. Ram’s exploitation finally came to an end when his trafficker was arrested.

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Sophie B

There are an estimated 145,000 people living in modern slavery in Italy (GSI 2018). Italy is a destination, transit and source country for men, women and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labour. Victims originate most often from Nigeria and other African countries, China, and Eastern Europe, and include ethnic Roma. Nigerians represented 36 percent of the victims who received residency permits in 2017, primarily women and girls subjected to sex trafficking through debt bondage and many coerced under threat of voodoo rituals. Men are victims of forced labour in agriculture in southern Italy and in construction, house cleaning, hotels, and restaurants in the north. Chinese victims work in textile factories in Milan, Prato, Rome, and Naples. Nigerian gangs have expanded and reportedly receive protection from Italian crime networks. Chinese criminal elements also forced victims to work in apartments and in massage parlours. Sophie was just 24 when she travelled from Leeds to Italy to be with the man she believed was her best friend and boyfriend.  She thought she was just going on a week’s holiday. Instead, she vanished for six months. Her boyfriend had tricked her, forcing her to begin working as a prostitute to earn money for him. He bullied her, beat her, and pressured her to have sex with strangers. Sophie, an alias, became what she never imagined she would. After six months, Sophie managed to escape and she now runs a survivor support programme for women in England who have been identified as having been trafficked. 

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Wendy

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. Wendy Barnes was trafficked from the age of 15 across the US West Coast for nearly 15 years, from the mid 1980s until 2000. Her trafficker, Gregory Leon Hightower, was eventually arrested and sentenced to life in prison in Oregon. Wendy now lives in Southern California and works full time as a customer service representative. Her narrative is from an interview with Francine Sporenda for the Révolution Féministe website, originally published in French and then in English by Nordic Model Now!, a UK secular, feminist, grassroots women’s group campaigning for the abolition of prostitution and related practices. Wendy has published a book about her experiences titled And Life Continues: Sex Trafficking and My Journey to Freedom (2015).

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DE

There are an estimated 10,000 people living in modern slavery in Hong Kong (GSI 2018). Approximately 370,000 foreign domestic workers, primarily from Indonesia and the Philippines, work in Hong Kong; some become victims of forced labour in the private homes in which they are employed. An NGO report released in 2016 estimated as many as one in six foreign domestic workers is a victim of labour exploitation. Employment agencies often charge job placement fees in excess of legal limits, and sometimes withhold identity documents, which may lead to situations of debt bondage of workers in Hong Kong. The accumulated debts sometimes amount to a significant portion of the worker’s first year salary. Some employers or employment agencies illegally withhold passports, employment contracts, or other possessions until the debt is paid. Some workers are required to work up to 17 hours per day, experience verbal, sexual or physical abuse in the home, and/or are not granted a legally required weekly day off.   DE, a 24-year-old woman from Malang was made to work more than 18 hours a day, seven days a week:

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BL

There are an estimated 10,000 people living in modern slavery in Hong Kong (GSI 2018). Approximately 370,000 foreign domestic workers, primarily from Indonesia and the Philippines, work in Hong Kong; some become victims of forced labour in the private homes in which they are employed. An NGO report released in 2016 estimated as many as one in six foreign domestic workers is a victim of labour exploitation. Employment agencies often charge job placement fees in excess of legal limits, and sometimes withhold identity documents, which may lead to situations of debt bondage of workers in Hong Kong. The accumulated debts sometimes amount to a significant portion of the worker’s first year salary. Some employers or employment agencies illegally withhold passports, employment contracts, or other possessions until the debt is paid. Some workers are required to work up to 17 hours per day, experience verbal, sexual or physical abuse in the home, and/or are not granted a legally required weekly day off.  BL, an Indonesian migrant domestic worker in Hong Kong

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Sophea Touch

There are an estimated 261,000 people living in modern slavery in Cambodia (GSI 2018). All of Cambodia's 25 provinces are sources for human trafficking. Cambodian women and girls move from rural areas to cities and tourist destinations where they are subjected to sex trafficking in brothels, beer gardens, massage parlours and salons. Children from impoverished families are vulnerable to forced labour, often with the complicity of their families, including in domestic servitude and forced begging or street vending in Thailand and Vietnam.  When Sophea was 3 or 4 years old, she was taken 300km away from her home with a woman she did not know. The woman forced her to abandon her education and sell cakes in the village. When she was 11 years old, Sophea escaped.

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R-Sone

There are an estimated 610,000 people living in conditions of modern slavery in Thailand (GSI 2018). Women and girls, many younger than 18 years old, are exploited in Thailand’s commercial sex industry and in forced labour in domestic service, factories, or agriculture. R-Sone, the eldest of five children, lived with her parents in the southern Laos. She was only able to complete grade three before she had to drop out from school because her parents could not support her. At that time, at just 13-years-old, she decided to leave her village to look for a job in Thailand. She believed that she would earn a higher salary if she worked outside Laos. R-Sone and four friends left their village together to meet the Lao-broker in a nearby village. There he hid them in a farm hut until a tuk tuk arrived to take them to cross the border by small boat to Thailand. They did not have any documentation. After arriving in Moukdahan, Thailand, they were taken to Bangkok where they were sent to work in a plastic shop. After three days, R-stone asked for a different job because the shop was open very late. She was transferred to a pork-grinding factory but was only there for a short time before a Thai-broker took her to work as a housekeeper.

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Promise

There are an estimated 136,000 people living on conditions of modern slavery in the United Kingdom (Global Slavery Index 2018). 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. Nigeria is a source, transit, and destination country for women and children subjected to forced labour and sex trafficking, and a source country for men subjected to forced labour. Nigerian women and girls are subjected to sex trafficking within Nigeria and throughout Europe, including in Italy, Spain, Austria, and Russia. While some sex trafficking victims arrive in Europe believing they will be working in prostitution, traffickers coerce them to stay in prostitution by changing the working conditions and increasing victims’ travel debts. Promise grew up in Nigeria. At 17 years old she was beaten after being caught having sexual relations with another woman who died as a result of her injuries. Promise went to her aunt’s house for protection, but ended up being sold as a sex worker. She fled to the UK where she was put in foster care, but later ran away and was forced into sex work by a man she thought would protect her.

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Princess

Italy is a destination, transit, and source country for women, children, and men subjected to sex trafficking and forced labour. Victims originate from Nigeria, Romania, Morocco, China, and other countries. Female victims are often subjected to sex trafficking in Italy after accepting promises of employment as dancers, singers, models, restaurant servers, or caregivers. Romanian and Albanian criminal groups force Eastern European women and girls into commercial sex.  Princess, a mother of four children and a grandmother of two, was a cook in a traditional restaurant in Akwa Ibom State in Nigeria. In 1999 she was approached by a woman who visited the restaurant and promised her a job as a cook in Italy. She was invited to a luxury hotel in Benin City – the capital of Edo State in southern Nigeria.  Unfortunately, the life-changing opportunity on offer was anything but. The Italian woman was a Madam from Turin and, having brought Princess into the country, sold her into prostitution and told her she would have to repay $45,000. 

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Ngalali

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

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Maria F

There are an estimated 4,000 people living in modern slavery in Qatar (GSI 2018). Qatar is a destination country for men and women subjected to forced labour and, to a much lesser extent, forced prostitution. Men and women from Nepal, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, the Philippines, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda, and other countries voluntarily migrate to Qatar as unskilled laborers and domestic workers, often paying illegal and exorbitant fees to unscrupulous recruiters in the labour-sending countries, thereby increasing their vulnerability to debt bondage. Some workers subsequently face conditions indicative of involuntary servitude, to include restricted movement, payment withholding, passport confiscation, exit permit retention, and threats of deportation or abuse. Individuals in Qatar sell visas to migrants and occasionally demand regular payments, enabling migrant workers to work illegally and without legal recourse against their respective sponsors, although reportedly this trend is on the decline. At the age of 24, 'Maria' travelled from the Philippines to work as a domestic worker. When she arrived at the house of her new employers, her mobile phone, ID and documents were immediately taken from her. Her clothes were also confiscated, and she had to wear a uniform at all times. She was told she would be paid only 800 riyals [$220] per month, and her employers said they would hold the money and pay her salary in full at the end of her contract. Maria's responsibilities included taking care of three children under the age of four, gardening and cleaning. She woke at 05:30 every day and would start working immediately.