Despite having the lowest regional prevalence of modern slavery in the world, Europe remains a destination, and to a lesser extent, a source region for the exploitation of men, women and children in 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.
Jasmine was sold to a man when she was 5 years old. At the age of 9 she was taken to Italy and forced to be a prostitute. At 15 years old she was brought to the UK where her sexual exploitation continued. Jasmine was finally able to escape when she came back after being with a client to an empty house. It was at this time that she decided to run away.
My name is Jasmine and I’m from Ghana. I just remember my mother singing. She would just sing, sing. It was nice. Then a man named Paul came and took my when I was 5. He told me that he bought me, but I couldn’t understand how.
First, we went to Italy, I was 9 when I had to start being a prostitute. Not everyday but a few times a week. I don’t know much about the world, but I know it’s better than that.
I was 15 when I came to the UK, but I didn’t see much of it because I wasn’t allowed outside on my own. At first, I thought it was no different from Italy. The men were all white, and I still had to do the same thing. I had around 4 clients a day. None of the men were nice to me they would hit me or call me names, or worse. And then one day Paul sent me off with one of his clients and when I came back, there was no one in the house. And no one came home all day. So, I found the courage and I ran away.
When I first met the people at poppy it was really hard for me to be honest with them. I couldn’t trust anyone. I was scared. My case worker, she was so nice to me, she supported me a great deal. I just wanted to be given a chance. I wanted to be a real lady, to be someone in society. And now I can.
There are still women out there like me. Poppy can help them, please give these women a chance at a better life.
Courtesy of Eave's Poppy Project