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.
Charlie was forced to provide sexual services to older men in the UK. She was finally able to escape when one of the clients took pity on her and helped her escape. With the help of AFRUCA, Charlie is getting back on her feet.
One day one of the men who used to sleep with me, pitied me and said to me ‘you are a small girl, you shouldn’t be doing this. I will arrange a way for you to escape’. We then set a day that we would meet. On that day the lady went out as she usually did and I took the key, unlocked the door, and ran. I went to meet the man, he showed me a police station and he told me to go and report myself to the police. I was afraid to go to the police, so I just continued walking on the street and I begged a woman on the street for money. She asked me why I was begging and I told her my story. She took me to a house. She found some information online about a charity called AFRUCA. AFRUCA then contacted the police in regards to my story, they also helped me get a solicitor who helped me with immigration and the Home Office. The Home Office asked me lots of questions and while I was waiting for a decision, they put me up in housing. Now, I’m still working with AFRUCA, trying to get on my two feet.
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.