The UK National Crime Agency estimates 3,309 potential victims of human trafficking came into contact with the State or an NGO in 2014. The latest government statistics derived from the UK National Referral Mechanism in 2014 reveal 2,340 potential victims of trafficking from 96 countries of origin, of whom 61 percent were female and 29 percent were children. Of those identified through the NRM, the majority were adults classified as victims of sexual exploitation followed by adults exploited in the domestic service sector and other types of labour exploitation. While a number of victims are trafficked from other countries such as Albania, Romania and Nigeria into the UK, UK residents are also vulnerable to commercial sexual exploitation.
Suzzan Blac was born in 1960 in Birmingham to a dysfunctional family in which she experienced physical, emotional and sexual abuse. In 1976 she travelled to London for what she thought was a job interview, after meeting with her employer and having her mother sign a contract and consent form Suzzan thought she would begin a new life in London. However, she was taken to an old hotel building, raped by her employer and multiple other men before being forced, along with other young girls, to perform sexually in front of both a video and still camera. Subjected daily to threats, beatings and rape, Suzzan learned how to numb her mind. At the age of 16 Suzzan was able to escape from her traffickers with the help of one of the men involved in the trafficking ring. However, while she may have been physically free, she felt her mind was still trapped. At the age of 18 filled with guilt, shame and self-blame she sought medical help but was not given the support she needed by doctors who either gave her drugs to numb her feelings or abused her further. It wasn’t until the birth of her daughter at the age of 28 that Suzzan says she began to recognise her past abuse and the understanding of true motherhood. During the years 2000-2004 she was compelled to paint 42 images about her abuse in order to help process her pain and trauma into something tangible. Suzzan did not reveal these paintings for a further 10 years, finally deciding in 2011 that being a survivor was not enough, she wanted to be a voice for other survivors. Suzzan’s work is now exhibited around the world and she continues to be a voice for survivors, using her blog on The Violence of Pornography and her art in seminars to train social workers on child sexual abuse and trafficking.
Up until this time; I thought I knew Evil.
But, I had only ever tasted it.
Now, it was being force fed to me by a malevolence ...that had no right to be of this world.
London – 1976
I was so excited on the morning of my interview.
I was to meet Mr. Y at an exclusive hotel in the city centre at 2 pm. I washed my hair, fixed my face, painted my nails and put on my prettiest dress.
I was so nervous as I walked into the hotel lobby, but I needn't have been, because Mr. Y was the most charming of men who put me to ease straight away.
After a couple of drinks and a long chat, he handed me a contract and a consent form, for one of my parents to fill in and sign, as I was only sixteen and still a minor; which served to validate my belief that everything was above board and bona fide.
We discussed the traveling arrangements for the following week, and then said our goodbyes on a hand shake.
I almost skipped the whole way back to the bus stop. I was on cloud nine and once in my seat, I went over the things that he had said to me.
He told me that I had the most symmetrical face that he had ever seen, that I was incredibly photogenic and that he had 'big' plans for me.
I had never been so thrilled in my life. I went straight to mother's house to ask her to sign the consent form. She promptly did, no questions asked, we said our goodbyes and she wished me a good time in London.
The following week I met Mr. Y at New Street railway station. I was besides myself with excitement, especially as I had never been to London before. I felt so confident and sophisticated as Mr. Y complimented me and told me about all the jobs he would line up for me in London and on the continent.
We arrived at Euston station late afternoon. Mr. Y flagged down a black cab and told me that he had a surprise for me.
I was amazed as I took in some of the famous sights during the ride, and even more so when he took me into an exclusive shop to pick out an outfit. He told me that he wanted me to look really special as we were to meet his partner for dinner and drinks that evening.
I had never been so happy as I came out of the changing room wearing a sophisticated black dress, silk stockings and black heels. Mr. Y asked the shop assistant if I could wear them, and if she would kindly put my clothes into a carrier bag for me.
The next two hours were spent sight seeing and drinking coffee in a hotel bar. At 7 pm we walked into a beautiful restaurant to meet Mr. S, who was equally charming and courteous.
They both made me feel like I was somebody. For the first time in my life I actually felt worthy and respected.
We drank, ate and discussed my promising future until around 11 pm. I was feeling rather light headed and tired as the three of us climbed into a cab. I naturally assumed that we would be going to some hotel, say our good nights and meet up the next morning for further discussions.
The cab came to a halt. Mr. Y paid the fare and we all climbed out of the vehicle, into a small, nondescript side street.
We continued to walk through endless back streets, but with each step, the surroundings seemed to get rougher and seedier. It all started to feel rather menacing, and I began to feel rather apprehensive. I knew that at this point, there was no turning back
Finally, we reached a large building that looked like it had once been a hotel. Many of its windows were boarded up and it was in a state of disrepair. As we entered the outer porch, I began to feel a strong sense of regret and forbodement.
Mr. Y unlocked the heavy front door and escorted me into a small bar area, in which a few shifty looking men sat drinking and talking.
They all stopped simultaneously to look at me as we entered.
I felt extremely uneasy and perturbed as Mr. Y told me to sit down. Mr. S brought some drinks over and gave one to me. “Just a nightcap for you, darlin,” he smiled.
As I finished my drink, Mr. Y turned to me and asked, “Would you mind coming to my room to sign some papers before you go to bed?”
Although alarm bells were frantically ringing inside my head, I said that I would; I felt at that point that I would have no choice anyway.
Mr. Y showed me where my room was on the way to his. He opened his door, and gestured for me to enter and sit on the single bed. I could see his briefcase and lots of paperwork on the dressing table. My eyes scanned the room as he took off his jacket, it looked like a basic, cheap hotel room except there was no TV and the window was boarded up.
Mr. Y looked me up and down, smiled and told me to take off my clothes.
My heartbeat dramatically increased so much so, that I could hear the blood pumping loudly in my ears, as the realization of what was happening hit me like a sledge hammer and my body froze.
I was so scared that I did what I was told.
He unzipped his fly and immediately forced himself inside of me, causing excruciating pain to sear through my body and explode inside my mind.
He was a small, skinny man in his late fifties or early sixties, his hair was thinning and he reeked of cheap aftershave and body odor.
I tried desperately to make my mind leave my body, but I couldn't concentrate, as he was grunting with every angry thrust, like a possessed animal.
I couldn't find any patterns, so I tried to numb myself to escape the horror and the repulsion of this odious and wiry little man.
And through his thin cruel mouth he constantly repeated, “Tell me you love it! Tell me you love it!”
I didn't answer, so he thrust his repulsive member harder, deeper and faster into my unwilling, tense flesh and shouted “TELL ME YOU LOVE IT! TELL ME YOU LOVE IT!”
Tears rolled over my cold face and down the back of my throat as I managed a muted “yes.”
And as he climaxed, thousands of insects crawled all over my cadaver body, sucking the now blackened blood from my restricted veins.
He grunted a few more times; and then promptly withdrew his obscene weapon.
I lay there like a piece of garbage, waiting for his next move.
He told me to get dressed, and as I stood, to pull up my underwear; he lunged at me, forcing me against a wall, with a large knife that he had grabbed from a drawer.
He stuck it faultlessly and purposefully underneath my ribcage and seethed like a man possessed
“I've killed bitches that misbehave before, you fucking hearing me?!”
I felt rigor mortis had set in, I was totally paralyzed; I couldn't move.
Fear clasped my brain, and all that I could think of, was that I was only sixteen years old and I was about to die... this is it! This is it right now!
As tears ran down my neck, I begged him to please not kill me and that I would do anything in order to live... anything.
Suddenly he withdrew the knife and burst out laughing. “You should see your face,” he said, pointing the knife towards me. “It's priceless!”
I was bursting with so many different emotions; of fear, hatred, anger, relief, joy and a gratitude that he did not actually kill me.
He whispered, close into to my ear like a serpent of the Devil “Now, you go back to your room and have a little think.”
I picked up my clothes; and quietly thanked him on my way out.
I was shaking so much I found it almost impossible to walk to my room.
Once inside I sat on the edge of the bed... and fell into a million pieces.
After some time, after the fear had subsided, I adopted the fetal position and cried myself as quietly as I could to sleep.
Later that night there was a soft knock at my door.
I heard the key unlock and as the door opened I was blinded by the bright yellow corridor light.
As my eyes adjusted, I could make out that it was Mr. S, the tall blonde haired, blue-eyed man that I had met earlier.
He sat down next to me on the bed and told me that he had heard me crying, and asked me if I was okay.
I told him what had happened and that I just wanted to go home. He put his arm around me and lifted my chin up to face him, my tears ended abruptly as he quietly spoke:
“You know... you look just like my dead wife...”
My breathing became shallow and rapid as he continued, “And... I'm going to fuck every orifice that you've got...” With those words, he forced himself upon and inside me.
I didn't think that my mind could take any more. I was hoping that I would actually just die of mental trauma and then I wouldn't have to be here. Or, go into a psychological coma where I wouldn't wake up until I was in a safe place, surrounded by nice people taking care of me; but that wasn't going to happen.
I felt him thrust his barbed weapon into my flesh, tearing me to pieces, again and again and again.
I had to endure every second of his evilness... penetrating me until he was satiated and discarded me; leaving both my body and my mind to bleed.
One day merged into the next during the time that I was there.
In fact I do not know how long I was held captive there at all. The windows were boarded up, the lights were permanently on and I could hear constant male and female voices through the day and night, screaming, laughing, swearing and shouting. Time had no meaning here, and for me, every minute seemed like a day and every day seemed like a year.
Mr. Y appeared in my room the next day. I was incredibly numb and painfully sore.
I felt frightened, humiliated, degraded, debased, violated and desperately afraid of my fate ahead.
He told me to clean myself up, fix my make-up and hair and he would be back to get me soon.
I did as he asked; I had learned my lesson well.
As I applied my red lipstick, I paused and stared at my reflection in the mirror.
I could not recognize myself, that girl who I knew had gone; what I saw before me was just a fleshed robot, nothing more... nothing less.
He came and got me, demanding that I followed him.
We entered a huge room that looked like it was maybe the former hotel's lounge.
There were no windows, and the walls were covered in different colored fabrics.
In one corner of the room stood a wrought-iron bed flanked by a fur rug. In the middle of the room were two broken couches, some chairs and a large coffee table overflowing with pizza boxes, coke bottles, and large melamine ashtrays over-brimming with cigarette butts and matches.
Apart from Mr. Y there were three men in the room, two of them sat laughing and rolling joints on one of the couches. Oblivious and indifferent to our presence; their very demeanor reeked of malice and evil.
Two mean and hungry looking Alsatian dogs lay, panting on the other couch, their eyes alert to anyone's sudden movements. The third man was loading film into a video camera, while continually dropping things, quietly muttering and swearing to himself.
On the other side of the room there were five half-naked girls trying on garments from a huge clothes hamper, some of them younger than myself. Each one of them having a benumbed, vacant and bewildered look on their heavily made-up faces.
Mr. Y told me to go and find something sexy to wear, so I did as I was ordered.
As I looked through the tacky pile of lingerie, I looked around the room.
There was filming and lighting equipment everywhere, and hardcore pornographic material, some including children and animals, lay around like regular coffee table magazines.
Sadistic bondage gear hung menacingly on hooks, and dirty, used sexual toys were strewn around the floor.
After our 'sexy outfits' were approved by Mr. Y, we were told to sit down. We were about to watch a 'picture show', laughed one of the men, as he joked that he would go fetch the popcorn.
They played us some hardcore pornographic footage, which included sadomasochism, gang bang rape, and a woman performing fellatio on a German shepherd.
I think by this time I had given in; I had succumbed to whatever they were going to make me do, or do to me.
They had indeed broken me, like an abused, captive animal; and all that I could do at this point was to go through the motions and try to function in a sterile, detached and impassive way.
I did not see myself as being brave or courageous.
It was merely a case of 'having no choice' and sometimes, when unwanted clarity intervenes, and you become lucid in the reality of your predicament; you want so much to truly die... and other moments... you truly don't.
(This is so very hard for me to write so please forgive my tears while I try and relay my deepest emotions to you; sometimes it's just too difficult to express into words.)
They ordered us to perform sexually in front of both a video camera and a still camera. I tried to comply like an undead actress obeying an insane director's commands.
When the photographer told me that he wanted 'butcher's shots' I really didn't know what he meant. He laughed and said, “Your meat... open your fucking legs wide, darlin!”
I hesitated, then I tried for a while, but the degradation swallowed me up and turned me inside out. The tears flowed out from my artificial eyes, which enraged my captor to the point of whacking me around the head then whispering into my ear, “You know what will happen to you don't you?”
I cried even more so he shouted and constantly swore, until finally, like a demented Diva, threw his arms up into the air and screamed at me, “FUCK OFF BACK TO YOUR ROOM!”
I sat on my bed with an ashtray for company, smoking and rocking back and forth, back and forth... waiting for the next sick installment.
After that incident I was put into rooms with prostitutes and their clients to learn, participate and be filmed. I had been repeatedly raped, beaten and threatened so I was now highly submissive and yielding. I would do as I was told; without question.
I could no longer see images in patterns so I learned how to totally numb my mind and become automated. I had no free will; they had ripped that out of me and entirely consumed it.
One morning I was taken to some rooms that were situated on the top floor of this subhuman underworld.
The door opened and there stood a grossly obese, black woman in her forties. She must have been in league with them, because she had her own apartment and told the man who brought me up to “go away.”
She spoke to me in a strong Jamaican accent, so I couldn't understand much of what she said.
She told me to come in and then guided me to her bedroom. I became totally petrified as she then locked us inside.
She took off her transparent black and red negligee to reveal her massive bulk that squeezed into her flimsy lingerie.
She laughed at my facial expression and proceeded to show me images of herself with other women in hardcore lesbian pornographic magazines.
I was mortified as I realized what she wanted from me. My heart pumped fast inside my head and my breathing became rapid and labored as she opened her wardrobe to reveal horrific sexual toys.
She started to take off my clothes, and in my absolute horror and fear I began to cry, telling her that I needed the toilet desperately. She became extremely irate and when I repeated my request, she laughed and said, “No... you play with me now.”
I edged away from her and made my way to the small window next to her bed. I moved the net curtains to one side and looked out in utter desperation, as there were just rows and rows of small gardens and not one person in sight.
She came towards me again and told me to get away from the window. I sloped towards the door to the bathroom and shouted that I was going to wet myself.
With that she stormed over and hit me with such a force that I flew onto the bed.
I composed myself and as I got up she hit me again. “YOU STUPID FUCKING WHITE BITCH... OKAY YOU GO TO THE TOILET!”
She opened the door to the bathroom and shouted, “IN THERE... STUPID WHITE BITCH!”
I ran past her and once inside I locked the door.
I started to panic. What was I going to do? What could I do?!
I flushed the toilet and turned on the tap while I desperately thought of something.
I opened a tiny window but it was too small to get through, and to my dismay we were about five stories up anyway. I looked around and spotted a metal razor, I opened it and removed the steel blade then shouted through the door, in absolute terror, my voice was quivering, “I'm going to cut my wrists, I mean it! I mean it! Really deep!!”
There was a deafening silence as my heartbeat pounded against my eardrums.
My whole body jumped as she started banging on the door and shouting words that I couldn't understand.
I slid down the wall into a seated position, crying and clutching the blade to my wrist. This was it? This was my plan?! They didn't care if I died. What was I thinking? I felt like a cornered fox waiting for the hounds to come and tear me to pieces.
It had been silent for an eternity, and I decided that I couldn't take it any more, it was do or die!
Still holding the blade to my wrist, I opened the bathroom door and made my way to the outer door.
I peered over the banister and down the stairs. Nothing... nobody??
I didn't understand, were they going to ambush me .I strained to listen but could only hear the phenomenal fear within my own body.
I ran down the stairs and came across a fire exit door, and to my utter disbelief and surprise it opened!
My heart was pumping inside my throat and my fingers were cut and bleeding from still squeezing the razor blade tightly; I ran outside.
I would run, non stop till I came to a police station and tell them what was going on here and they would give me coffee... and I would be safe… so very safe...
And as I began to run Mr. Y suddenly stepped in front of me, from out of nowhere.
He threw his cigarette to the ground and smiled as he stamped and twisted it out with his scuffed, Vandyke brown, leather shoe...
”And where the fuck do you think you're going?”
The above narrative is provided by Suzzan Black and is an excerpt from the book The Rebirth of Suzzan Blac