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. According to the most recent Eurostat findings, European Union (EU) citizens account for 65 percent of identified trafficked victims within Europe. These individuals mostly originate from Eastern Europe, including Romania, Bulgaria, Lithuania and Slovakia. In Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina, the European Parliament has identified corruption and the judicial system as reform challenges towards accession talks within the EU. In Greece, the turbulent economic situation has increased vulnerability for populations seeking employment and livelihood opportunities. In Greece, unemployment reached 24.4 percent in January 2016 with a youth unemployment rate of 51.9 percent.
Tim thought he had escaped an exploitative situation when he fled the house of his employer. While wandering the streets he was approached by a woman who offered to help him. However, upon arrival at her house, he was forced to undertake all the housework and childcare responsibilities and was prevented from leaving the house except to pick the children up from school.
I was left in a position that I hadn’t dreamt of for seven years. I found myself in a position that I did not expect. I did not want to live in this situation anymore. I was tired of the beating. There are so many things that I want to do that I could not do. I did not have a voice to make an independent decision. I started thinking of leaving and asked myself would anyone believe my story? Will the authorities believe me? One day I woke up and it was like a spirit erected me to come out of there. I had had enough. I was locked in the house but on this occasion the door was unlocked so I just opened the door. I didn’t take anything, I just ran. And I kept looking back to see if anyone was chasing me. After a while, I started walking in the street and crying. I was met by a Christian women, one of the fake ones, the women asked me why I was crying and I told her my story. She then told me that if I approached the police they would take me back to my country. I became very scared and she said she would help me. She asked me to make a secret agreement with her to tell no one about my story and that she would help me so that I don’t go back to my country. She then took me to her house and instead of helping me, she used me to take care of her children, 2 boys that were 8 and 3 years old. I did all the washing, cooking and the cleaning, she didn’t allow me to go outside except to pick up the children from school. I worked all day, morning to night. I was too scared to tell anyone. It’s like a nightmare with no escape.
Narrative courtesy of AFRUCA (Africans Unite against Child Abuse). AFRUCA is registered charity that advocates for the rights and welfare of African children in the UK. It has developed out of African communities in the UK as a response to their realisation of the problems that African parents and their children face, along with the gaps that exist within the protection system for African children in the country.