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Nasreen Sheikh

There are an estimated 171,000 people living in modern slavery in Nepal (GSI 2018). Within Nepal, bonded labour exists in agriculture, brick kilns, the stone-breaking industry, and domestic work. Sex trafficking of Nepali women and girls increasingly takes place in private apartments, rented rooms, guest houses, and restaurants. Nepali and Indian children are subjected to forced labour in the country, especially in domestic work, brick kilns, and the embroidered textile, or zari, industry. Under false promises of education and work opportunities, Nepali parents give their children to brokers who instead take them to frequently unregistered children’s homes in urban locations, where they are forced to pretend to be orphans to garner donations from tourists and volunteers; some of the children are also forced to beg on the street.  Nasreen grew up in a small village between Nepal and India not easily accessible on maps or books. People born in her village do not often receive birth certificates and other identifying documents and as a result Nasreen does not know exactly how old she is. She guesses she is now somewhere between 27 or 28 years old. She was undocumented, without any proof of age or identification which allows for people to be exploited more easily. She was taken to Kathmandu to work in a manufacturing factory with her cousin when she was 9 years old. If she was not finished by her deadline, she would not be paid for all the work she had done during the week. She was forced to wake up at 4am and work until midnights, even then there were piles of clothes left over. After two months of working in a small room, the factory closed. Nasreen was turned into what she calls a ‘street kid.’ She met a man who she allowed her to go to school and receive an education, from which she was able to better understand her life and family’s history. He father and uncle died prematurely because of labour exploitation and her sister was forced into marriage when she was just 12 years old. While still a teenager Nasreen advocated for young girls and women in sweatshops. In 2008 she started her own business, ‘Local Women Handicrafts.’ 

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Awais Raza

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.  Awais Raza was taken to a children’s home after his mother and father were killed. He describes this home as more like a prison. An older Afghan man helped him escape the abusive and exploitative children’s home and brought him to the UK. Upon arrival he was housed by an Afghan man in Luton and was given a passport. After two years of helping with cooking and cleaning in people’s homes, he sought out an education. At age 20 he was invited to a Home Office interview where he was forced to recount experience he had buried. After hours of questions, he was detained for 13 days before his solicitor could refer him to the National Referral Mechanism. Overall it took five years for Awais to be granted asylum in the UK. 

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Muneera

It is estimated that almost 8 million people are living in conditions of modern slavery in India (GSI 2018). The skewed sex ratio in some regions of India has fuelled the trafficking and selling of women and young girls as brides within India. Women are reportedly sold off into marriage by their families, sometimes at a young age, and end up enduring severe abuse, rape and exploitation by their husbands. It is also reported that women and girls from impoverished backgrounds have been lured by promises of marriage by younger men from urban areas, then forced into sex work once married.  Muneera Beguma was just 12 years old when she was sold into marriage with a man aged 70. She was locked up and subjected to physical and sexual abuse. Eventually he divorced her over the phone. Muneera filed a police case and authorities arrested the middleman involved in selling her.  

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Brinda

The Global Slavery Index 2018 estimates that on any given day there were nearly 8 million people living in modern slavery in India. The GSI 2018 reports an emerging trend in northeast India where organised trafficking syndicates operate along the open and unmanned international borders, duping or coercing young girls seeking employment outside their local area in to forced sexual exploitation. Many women and girls are lured with the promise of a good job but then forced in to sex work, with a 'conditioning' period involving violence, threats, debt bondage and rape.  Brinda* was kidnapped and sold to a man who forced her into prostitution in Delhi. She was beaten and subjected to sexual exploitation daily.

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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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Kat Rosenblatt

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. Kat Rosenblatt grew up in an abusive home in South Florida. After her mother left her father and too Kat to a hotel, Kat was befriended by a young girl who over the course of a month groomed her into sex tourism. The first time Kat Rosenblatt’s traffickers attempted to sell her to an older man, she resisted and was left for dead in the street. Though she was able to escape this situation, Kat was trafficked again by a friend’s father who later planted drugs in her school bag. Kat was suspended and became a drug addict. However, after overcoming her addictions, Kat obtained a PhD, wrote a book about her experience and founded her organisation There Is Hope For Me.

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Penelope

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. Penelope’s* father became involved in criminal activity when she was a child which led to the repossession of their house. They moved into his friend’s house and when they became unable to pay rent, her father forced Penelope into child sexual exploitation, offering her to his friends as payment. One night when she was nine years old, Penelope was taken by her father’s friend and locked her in a room, where she was raped for days by adult men. After a few days of ‘breaking in’, Penelope was trafficked across the backroads of Mississippi, forced to see 15-20 men each night. After three years, Penelope’s mother came for her after being left by her father. It was a long road to recovery, Penelope entered into an abusive relationship as a teenager and suffered with alcohol addiction in college. She was finally able to receive help from a friend who introduced her to a church.

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Avery

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. Avery* was 12 years old when she was trafficked into commercial sexual exploitation by a woman who promised her a job in modelling. She was kidnapped, beaten, raped, deprived of food and water, and when she returned home remained under the control of her trafficker until she was 18 years old.

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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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Kumari

 There are an estimated almost 8 million people living in modern slavery in India (GSI 2018). India has a population of more than 1.3 billion people, there are still at least 270 million people living on less than US$1.90 per day. While laws, systems and attitudes regarding key 'fault lines' such as the caste system, gender and feudalism are rapidly changing, social change of this depth and scale necessarily takes time. In this context, it is perhaps unsurprising that existing research suggests that all forms of modern slavery continue to exist in India, including intergenerational bonded labour, forced child labour, commercial sexual exploitation, forced begging, forced recruitment into nonstate armed groups and forced marriage. Kumari was taken by a family who promised to provide her with an education. However instead she was forced to do all the housework, working long hours with restricted food. After a while she became too ill to work and was finally sent home.

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Trishna

The Global Slavery Index 2018 estimates that on any given day there were nearly 8 million people living in modern slavery in India. The GSI 2018 reports an emerging trend in northeast India where organised trafficking syndicates operate along the open and unmanned international borders, duping or coercing young girls seeking employment outside their local area in to forced sexual exploitation. Many women and girls are lured with the promise of a good job but then forced in to sex work, with a 'conditioning' period involving violence, threats, debt bondage and rape.  In 2010, Trishna was 14 years old when she met a boy who lived in a village close to hers. He kidnapped her, took her to different city and sold her to traffickers who said she would have to dance to earn back the money they had paid. While Trishna was finally rescued after around 6 months, her experience with the police was not a pleasant one. They sexual abused her, threatening to tell people that she had chosen this life. Upon returning home, people in Trishna’s village did not treat her the same and her mental health has suffered as a result. In 2015, Trishna was finally able to get help through a psychiatrist and an NGO who reached out to assist her.

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A.

There are an estimated 20,000 people living in conditions of modern slavery in Albania (GSI 2018). An estimated 10% of girls in Albania are married before their eighteenth birthday, with child marriage most common among the Roma ethnic group and in poor, isolated and rural areas. Child marriage is driven by gender inequality and while country has committed to eliminate child, early and forced marriage by 2030 in line with target 5.3 of the UN Sustainable development goals, no progress has been reported thus far. Human traffickers also exploit domestic and foreign victims in Albania, and traffickers exploit victims from Albania abroad. Traffickers exploit Albanian women and children in sex trafficking and forced labor within the country, especially during tourist season. Traffickers use false promises such as marriage or employment offers to force victims into sex trafficking. Traffickers exploit Albanian victims in sex trafficking in countries across Europe, particularly Kosovo, Greece, Italy, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, North Macedonia, Norway, the Netherlands, and the UK. Albanian migrants who seek employment in Western Europe face forced labor and forced criminality, particularly in the UK. When she was a young girl A’s mother left her father for another man. Too poor to look after her, A’s mother sent her to live with a neighbours’ family who, while treating her well at first, began to withhold food and exploit her. She stayed there for one year before returning to live with her mother who, after spending some time begging, had been forced in to prostitution by a man who had promised to help her get a better house. A’s mother’s boyfriend began sexually abusing her, and when a friend found out, he hit the boyfriend with his car. A began working as a prostitute at the age of 13, thinking she was helping her mother who was too ill to work. One day A met a man who took her to a convent in Italy who referred her to a shelter where she was helped build a better life.

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Brooke Axtell

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. Brooke Axtell was seven years old when she was trafficked for sex by her nanny. Her mother was in hospital and her father travelled for work. She was taken to houses and hotels and sold to strange men. She was forced into pornography with adults and other children. The trafficking finally ended when her mum came out of hospital and fired the nanny, but Brooke’s trauma followed her into adulthood.

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Anneke Lucas

There are an estimated 23,000 people in modern slavery in Belgium (GSI 2018). People are subjected to sex and labour trafficking in the country, with foreign-born people coming primarily from Asia, Eastern Europe, North and Sub-Saharan Africa. Labour traffickers exploit men in restaurants, bars, sweatshops, horticulture, fruit farms, construction, cleaning businesses and retail shops, they also exploit foreign workers in domestic servitude. Sex trafficker exploit Belgian girls, some of whom recruited by local pimps, and foreign children, including Roma. Forced begging within the Romani community in Belgium also occurs, while asylum seekers often have their applications for legal status denied, increasing their vulnerability to trafficking. Anneke was sold by her mother as a child sex slave to a paedophile network. Anneke was raped daily by older men, many of them prominent Belgian politicians, until she was eleven years old. At eleven, when she was considered no longer useful to the network, she was tortured to be killed. She was saved from death by a man negotiating with the politician in charge of the network. Anneke talks about her experience of therapy to work through her experiences of trauma.

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Micheline Slattery

There are an estimated 59,000 people living in modern slavery in Haiti (GSI 2018). Traffickers exploit foreign and domestic victims in Haiti and abroad. Most of Haiti’s trafficking cases involved children in forced labour in domestic service, known as the restavèk system. Children are often physically abused, receive no payment for services rendered and have significantly lower school enrolment rates. Many children flee their situation of domestic servitude, becoming street children at further risk of re-trafficking. Micheline Slattery was orphaned and made a restavèk by her aunt when she was five years old. She was forced to cook, clean and care for the families’ children, being the first to rise and last to go to bed. Micheline was subjected to verbal and physical abuse daily. When she was thirteen her aunt took her to the United States where Micheline thought she was going to be with family, but upon arrival she was sold again as a restavèk to a woman in Connecticut. She finally left her situation when she was 18 years old and now gives talks across the country to raise awareness of the rising number of restavèks in the US.

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Chepkorir

There are an estimated 328,000 people living in conditions of slavery in Kenya (GSI 2018). While Kenya has committed to eliminate child, early and forced marriage by 2030 in line with target 5.3 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, 23% of Kenyan girls are still married before their 18th birthday. According to UNICEF, Kenya has the 20th highest absolute number of child brides in the world. Forced child marriage is driven by gender inequality with the belief that girls are inferior to boys. It is exacerbated by poverty, natural disasters and cultural traditions such as female genital mutilation and Samburu whereby a close family relative will approach a girl’s parents with red Samburu beads and place the necklace around the girl’s neck as a form of engagement.  Chepkorir was forced to work tending her father’s cattle from a young age, preventing her from receiving any education. When she was 10 years old, Chepkorir’s father arranged her marriage to a 76 year old man. She ran away and found refuge in a church who put her in contact with HAART Kenya. At HAART’s shelter, Chepkorir was able to get an education and secure employment. The COVID-19 outbreak has however led to the postponement of her employment.

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Shin Dong Hyuk (Narrative 2)

The Global Slavery Index 2018 estimates that there are 2,640,000 people living in conditions of modern slavery in The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea). Men, women and children are subjected to forced labour and sex trafficking. Government oppression in the DPRK prompts many North Koreans to flee the country in ways that make them vulnerable to human trafficking in destination countries. Many of the estimated 10 000 North Korean women and girls who have migrated illegally to China to flee abuse and human rights violation are particularly vulnerable to trafficking. Some lure, drug, detain or kidnap North Korean women on their arrival, others offer jobs but subsequently force the women into prostitution, domestic service, or forced marriage. If found, Chinese authorities often repatriate victims back to the DPRK where they are subjected to harsh punishment including forced labour in labour camps or death. Shin Dong Hyuk was born in a North Korean prison labour camp in 1982. He tells of his experience growing up in the camp and being forced to work from a very young age. In the camp, food was restricted and beatings were common, by both prison officers and Shin Dong’s own mother. When he was fourteen, Shin Dong’s mother and brother attempted to escape the camp. He was forced to watch their execution and tortured himself for presumped involvement in their escape. In late 2004 Shin Dong was partnered with a man who had seen the outside world and they began to plan their own escape. In January 2005, they escaped while collecting firewood, however Shin Dong was the only one to succeed.  

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Witness A

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. Witness A was trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation in the UK as a minor. Witness A tells of the numerous organisations and agencies who failed to recognise that she had been trafficked, resulting in her continued exploitation. Subjected to sexual and physical violence, Witness A often found herself in contact with A&E, the police and child services who did not help her escape her exploiters and, on occasion, placed the blame upon herself. Witness A states that it was not until she reached out to the Salvation Army that she was able to escape her exploitation and was placed in a safehouse. However, Witness A talks about the lack of support available even after she was rescued from her traffickers.

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Bilal

There are an estimated 90,000 people living in modern slavey in Mauritania (GSI 2018). Mauritania is one of the last countries in the world where people are still born into hereditary slavery, which means they are literally owned by other people, and forced to work for masters their entire lives. People in slavery come from the Haratine ethnic group, historically enslaved by White Moors. They can be bought and sold, or given as gifts, and face a lifetime of exploitation and abuse. Rape of female slaves is common and their children also become slaves. They are Muslims, and many believe that it is Allah’s wish for them to be enslaved because they are told that their paradise is bound to their Master. In reality, Islam dictates that a Muslim cannot enslave a fellow Muslim. Since 2007 slavery has been criminalised in Mauritania but the law is not enforced and the government is reluctant to acknowledge the existence of the problem.  Born in 1955, Bîlal Ould Semetta was enslaved in inherited bondage throughout his childhood until he was 25 years old. At a young age he was sent to work for the cousin of the family to whom he was enslaved. He lived as a shepherd, cut off from his family, refused an education and banned from practising religion. It was not until the drought of 1973 that Bîlal was no longer needed and was allowed to return to his family.

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Jamie

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. Jamie was kidnapped from her home by three men and forced into commercial sexual exploitation. She was subjected to rape and sexual violence every day