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Y

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. Y was trafficked from Nigeria to the United Kingdom at five years old. She was forced to clean, prevented from leaving the house or going to school and made to look after the family’s baby. Y was physically, emotionally and mentally abused by the family that had bought her. When she was 11, the family moved back to Nigeria and sold Y to their friend. She remained in the UK and was forced to work long hours doing housework. When she was 14, she was also forced to make cakes for the woman to sell and make money. She finally ran away and went to live with a foster family while the police and social services worked on her case. 

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Matthew Dixon

There are an estimated 133,000 people living in modern slavery in Ghana (GSI 2018). Ghana remains a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labour and sex trafficking. Ghanaian boys and girls are subjected to forced labor within the country in fishing, domestic service, street hawking, begging, portering, artisanal gold mining, quarrying, herding, and agriculture, including cocoa. Research focused on the fishing industry on Lake Volta indicated that more than half of the children working on and around the lake were born in other communities and many of these children are subjected to forced labor; not allowed to attend school; given inadequate housing and clothing; and are controlled by fishermen through intimidation, violence, and limiting access to food. Boys as young as five years old are forced to work in hazardous conditions, including deep diving, and many suffer waterborne infections. A study of the prevalence of child trafficking in selected communities in the Volta and Central Regions indicated that children from nearly one-third of the 1,621 households surveyed had been subjected to trafficking, primarily in fishing and domestic servitude. Matthew was trafficked into fishing on Lake Volta, Ghana after he left school to help support his family. The trafficker promised his mother monthly payment in exchange for Matthew’s labour. He was forced to work long hours in dangerous conditions under the threat of violence. After attending workshops on child trafficking Matthew’s mother realised what she had done and organised his release. Matthew is now back at school.

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Aja

There are an estimated 17,000 people living in modern slavery in Jordan (GSI 2018). Jordan is a source, transit and destination country for adults and children subjected to forced labour, domestic servitude and sex trafficking. People are trafficked primarily from South and Southeast Asia, East Africa, Egypt and Syria. Forced labour victims experience withheld or non-payment wages, confiscation of identity documents, restricted freedom of movement, unsafe living conditions, long hours without rest, isolation, and verbal and physical abuse. Jordan relies on foreign migrant workers – many of whom are undocumented – in several sectors, including construction, agriculture, textiles, and domestic work. Aja* travelled to Jordan for work after the death of her husband. After six months her wages were withheld and she was subjected to physical abuse by her employer.

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Esosa

There are an estimated 1,386,000 people living in modern slavery in Nigeria (GSI 2018). 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. Women and girls are victims of forced labour in domestic service both within the country as well as being trafficked to other West and Central African countries.  Esosa experienced trafficking and domestic servitude in Nigeria. She was then able to return to school and went on to study theatre arts at university. She is now a professional dancer and performer. Esosa supports anti-trafficking efforts in her community, including through NGO Y, by choreographing performances to raise awareness of the dangers of irregular migration.

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Tina

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. Tina is from India but travelled to the UK where she was forced to marry a man she did not know. She was abused by both him and his family. She became pregnant and worried for her child. She escaped from her abusers and was referred to Black Country Women's Aid who supported her in their refuge. There she lived alongside other women and children who had escaped abuse.

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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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Francis Bok (Narrative 2)

There are an estimated 465,000 people living in modern slavery in Sudan (GSI 2018). Traffickers exploit foreign and domestic victims in the country. Migrant children from West and Central Africa are exploited in forced labour for begging, public transportation, large markets and sex trafficking. Business owners, informal mining operators, community members and farmers exploit children working in brick making factories, goldmining, collective medical waste, street vending and agriculture. Children are exposed to threats, physical and sexual abuse, as well as hazardous working conditions and limited access to education or health services. At the age of four Francis Bok was kidnapped from a local market in South Sudan and forced into domestic slavery in northern Sudan. For 10 years he was forced to work long hours with no rest, treated like an animal by the family he worked for. Bok tried to escape twice before was finally being successful, reaching a refugee camp in Egypt. After a while in the camp he was able to get refugee status in the United States. In 2011 Francis Bok returned to South Sudan and works as a public relations manager at a construction company.

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Shamere McKenzie (Narrative 2)

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. Shamere McKenzie came to the US from Jamaica when she was 6 years old. A talented track star, she was running at college level when she injured her hamstring. With her scholarship in jeopardy, she met someone who said they could help her return to school, all she had to do was dance at his nightclub. One evening, however, Shamere was taken to a house in Brooklyn where she was told to have sex with a customer. When she refused, her trafficker threatened her life, and when she tried to leave when they returned home he beat her to unconsciousness. For eighteen months Shamere McKenzie was forced in to prostitution and trafficked across five different states under constant threats of violence. She finally escaped when her trafficker allowed her to call her mother and she was able to get a flight back to New York.  

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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).