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Judith

There are an estimated 403,000 people living in conditions of modern slavery in the United States (GSI 2018). The US attracts migrants and refugees who are particularly at risk of vulnerability to human trafficking. Trafficking victims often responding to fraudulent offers of employment in the US migrate willingly and are subsequently subjected to conditions of involuntary servitude in industries such as forced labour and commercial sexual exploitation. Judith travelled from the Philippines to New York in 2005 to work as a domestic worker. Instead of the eight-hour working day she was promised, Judith was forced to work up to eighteen hours a day, seven days a week for little pay. Her passport was confiscated, and she was told not to tell anyone about her situation. She was finally able to escape in 2007 while the family was out of the house.

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Caroline

There is an estimated 48,000 people living in modern slavery in Libya (GSI 2018). Libya is a major transit destination for migrants and refugees hoping to reach Europe by sea. Human trafficking networks have prospered amid lawlessness, created by the warring militias that have been fighting for control of territories since the toppling of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. Highly organized trafficking and migrants smuggling networks that reach into Libya from Niger, Nigeria, Chad, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan, and other sub-Saharan states subject migrants to forced labor and forced prostitution through fraudulent recruitment, confiscation of identity and travel documents, withholding or non-payment of wages, debt bondage, and verbal, physical, and sexual abuse. In some cases, migrants reportedly pay smuggling fees to reach Tripoli, but once they cross the Libyan border they are sometimes abandoned in southern cities or the desert where they are susceptible to severe forms of abuse and human trafficking. Caroline thought she was travelling to Europe with her boyfriend, but he sold her to a woman who took her to Libya and sold her on again to another man. She was taken to Tripoli and forced into prostitution. After Caroline escaped prostitution, she went to live in a residential house. But this house was raided and she was put in a prison where she was subjected to physical and sexual abuse daily. She was finally able to escape the prison by jumping a fence and found herself at a place where people were getting on a boat to Italy. She joined them, but the journey was not easy.

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Mina S.

There are an estimated 61,000 people living in modern slavery in Saudi Arabia (GSI 2018). It is a source and destination country for men and women trafficked from South and South East Asia and Africa. People voluntarily migrate to the country to work in a variety of sectors including construction and domestic service; many of these workers are vulnerable to forced labour. Traffickers and brokers often illegally recruit migrants to work in Saudi Arabia and subsequently forced them into domestic servitude or debt bondage. Female domestic workers are particularly at risk of trafficking due to their isolation inside private residences. Non-payment or late payment of wages remains a complaint from foreign workers, while employer's withholding of worker's passports remains a significant problem. Trafficking perpetrators include businesses of all sizes, private families, recruitment companies in both Saudi Arabia and labor-sending countries, and organized criminal elements. Mina S., an Indonesian domestic worker travelled to Saudi Arabia for work. She was forced to work long hours without pay and was beaten by her employer. Mina was locked in the house and had to escape through a ventilation hole in the bathroom.

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Thiri

There are an estimated 212,000 people living in modern slavery in Malaysia (GSI 2018). The majority of those exploited are migrant and undocumented workers in the country. Foreign workers constitute more than 20 percent of the Malaysian workforce and typically migrate voluntarily—often illegally—to Malaysia from Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Burma, Indonesia, the Philippines, and other Southeast Asian countries, mostly in pursuit of better economic opportunities. Some of these migrants are subjected to forced labour or debt bondage by their employers, employment agents, or informal labour recruiters when they are unable to pay the fees for recruitment and associated travel.   Thiri came to Malaysia in 2007 from Myanmar without documents. He was brought to immigration officials and was told he was being deported to the Thai-Malaysian border. However, he was forced into the back of a vehicle and taken to a house where traffickers demanded money to go back to Malaysia. Those that could not pay, including Thiri were kept in the house and threatened with forced labour. Thiri and six others tried to escape and have the traffickers arrested but police were involved in the trafficking and they were taken back to the house where they were being kept. Thiri was forced to cook and clean, sell drugs, and become the traffickers’ ‘bodyguard,’ beating new arrivals who also could not pay the fee to return to Malaysia. Eventually Thiri was able to escape.

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Rayana

There are an estimated 794,000 people living in conditions of modern slavery in Russia (GSI 2018). Forced labour remains the predominant form of human trafficking in the country. Labour trafficking has been reported in the construction, manufacturing, logging, textile, and maritime industries, as well as in sawmills, agriculture, sheep farms, grocery and retail shops, restaurants, waste sorting, street sweeping, domestic service, and forced begging. Many migrant workers experience exploitative labour conditions characteristic of trafficking cases, such as withholding of identity documents, non-payment for services rendered, physical abuse, lack of safety measures, or extremely poor living conditions. Rayana*, an 18-year old woman from Kazakhstan, was trafficked to Russia after a man offered her work near Moscow. But when she arrived, she was forced to work in a shop with two other girls. Rayanna was subjected to physical and sexual violence. She finally escaped one night by clinging to the back of a lorry.

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Ponnamma S.

There are an estimated 61,000 people living in modern slavery in Saudi Arabia (GSI 2018). It is a source and destination country for men and women trafficked from South and South East Asia and Africa. People voluntarily migrate to the country to work in a variety of sectors including construction and domestic service; many of these workers are vulnerable to forced labour. Traffickers and brokers often illegally recruit migrants to work in Saudi Arabia and subsequently forced them into domestic servitude or debt bondage. Female domestic workers are particularly at risk of trafficking due to their isolation inside private residences. Non-payment or late payment of wages remains a complaint from foreign workers, while employer's withholding of worker's passports remains a significant problem. Trafficking perpetrators include businesses of all sizes, private families, recruitment companies in both Saudi Arabia and labor-sending countries, and organized criminal elements. Ponnamma S., a 52-year-old domestic worker from Sri Lanka, travelled to Saudi Arabia for work through an agent. Forced to work long hours with no breaks, Ponnamma was never paid for her labour and beaten. After escaping her employers, she went to the police but they returned her back to the house.

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Lilis H

There are an estimated 61,000 people living in modern slavery in Saudi Arabia (GSI 2018). It is a source and destination country for men and women trafficked from South and South East Asia and Africa. People voluntarily migrate to the country to work in a variety of sectors including construction and domestic service; many of these workers are vulnerable to forced labour. Traffickers and brokers often illegally recruit migrants to work in Saudi Arabia and subsequently forced them into domestic servitude or debt bondage. Female domestic workers are particularly at risk of trafficking due to their isolation inside private residences. Non-payment or late payment of wages remains a complaint from foreign workers, while employer's withholding of worker's passports remains a significant problem. Trafficking perpetrators include businesses of all sizes, private families, recruitment companies in both Saudi Arabia and labor-sending countries, and organized criminal elements. Lilis H travelled from Indonesia to Saudi Arabia for work in domestic service. In Saudi Arabia, Lilis’ employer locked her in the house and subjected her to physical violence every day.

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Chemmani R.

There are an estimated 61,000 people living in modern slavery in Saudi Arabia (GSI 2018). It is a source and destination country for men and women trafficked from South and South East Asia and Africa. People voluntarily migrate to the country to work in a variety of sectors including construction and domestic service; many of these workers are vulnerable to forced labour. Traffickers and brokers often illegally recruit migrants to work in Saudi Arabia and subsequently forced them into domestic servitude or debt bondage. Female domestic workers are particularly at risk of trafficking due to their isolation inside private residences. Non-payment or late payment of wages remains a complaint from foreign workers, while employer's withholding of worker's passports remains a significant problem. Trafficking perpetrators include businesses of all sizes, private families, recruitment companies in both Saudi Arabia and labor-sending countries and organized criminal elements. Chemmani travelled from Sri Lanka to Saudi Arabia for work to help support her family. She as not paid for her work. When Chemmani R. approached a police officer after escaping her employer, a police officer took her to an isolated area and raped her.300 When he stopped the car and got out to buy water, she grabbed his driver’s license and ran out. She was transferred to a deportation centre with no opportunity to pursue her case.

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Gina R.

There are an estimated 61,000 people living in modern slavery in Saudi Arabia (GSI 2018). It is a source and destination country for men and women trafficked from South and South East Asia and Africa. People voluntarily migrate to the country to work in a variety of sectors including construction and domestic service; many of these workers are vulnerable to forced labour. Traffickers and brokers often illegally recruit migrants to work in Saudi Arabia and subsequently forced them into domestic servitude or debt bondage. Female domestic workers are particularly at risk of trafficking due to their isolation inside private residences. Non-payment or late payment of wages remains a complaint from foreign workers, while employer's withholding of worker's passports remains a significant problem. Trafficking perpetrators include businesses of all sizes, private families, recruitment companies in both Saudi Arabia and labor-sending countries and organized criminal elements.   Gina R. travelled from the Philippines to Saudi Arabia for domestic work. Once she was no longer needed by one employer, she and other women workers were locked in the agency until there was further work for them, even if they wanted to return home. She attempted to escape with three other Filipinos, jumping from the third floor and injuring herself. She was taken to hospital and subsequently questioned by police. 

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Haima G.

There are an estimated 61,000 people living in modern slavery in Saudi Arabia (GSI 2018). It is a source and destination country for men and women trafficked from South and South East Asia and Africa. People voluntarily migrate to the country to work in a variety of sectors including construction and domestic service; many of these workers are vulnerable to forced labour. Traffickers and brokers often illegally recruit migrants to work in Saudi Arabia and subsequently forced them into domestic servitude or debt bondage. Female domestic workers are particularly at risk of trafficking due to their isolation inside private residences. Non-payment or late payment of wages remains a complaint from foreign workers, while employer's withholding of worker's passports remains a significant problem. Trafficking perpetrators include businesses of all sizes, private families, recruitment companies in both Saudi Arabia and labor-sending countries and organized criminal elements.   Haima G. travelled to Saudi Arabia for work to help her family. Relatives deceived Haima G. about her promised job abroad. Her agent sexually harassed her, and her employer threatened to return her to her abusive agent if she complained. Her employer sexually assaulted her, retained her passport, and locked her in the workplace so that she could not escape.   

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Ani R.

There are an estimated 61,000 people living in modern slavery in Saudi Arabia (GSI 2018). It is a source and destination country for men and women trafficked from South and South East Asia and Africa. People voluntarily migrate to the country to work in a variety of sectors including construction and domestic service; many of these workers are vulnerable to forced labour. Traffickers and brokers often illegally recruit migrants to work in Saudi Arabia and subsequently forced them into domestic servitude or debt bondage. Female domestic workers are particularly at risk of trafficking due to their isolation inside private residences. Non-payment or late payment of wages remains a complaint from foreign workers, while employer's withholding of worker's passports remains a significant problem. Trafficking perpetrators include businesses of all sizes, private families, recruitment companies in both Saudi Arabia and labor-sending countries, and organized criminal elements.  A Saudi man, an Indonesian labour agent, and an Indonesian migrant worker deceived Ani R. into believing she was migrating for marriage.  At 17 years old, she married the man to help her family but the dowery promised was not given to Ani R.’s father. While Ani was treated well the first month in Saudi Arabia, after this she was subjected to physical abuse and treated as a domestic worker forced to work long hours in the house under the threat of violence. Ani R., tried to escape but her husband found her at a shelter and bribed police to have her return. 

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Farzana

There are an estimated 61,000 people living in modern slavery in Saudi Arabia (GSI 2018). It is a source and destination country for men and women trafficked from South and South East Asia and Africa. People voluntarily migrate to the country to work in a variety of sectors including construction and domestic service; many of these workers are vulnerable to forced labour. Traffickers and brokers often illegally recruit migrants to work in Saudi Arabia and subsequently forced them into domestic servitude or debt bondage. Female domestic workers are particularly at risk of trafficking due to their isolation inside private residences. Non-payment or late payment of wages remains a complaint from foreign workers, while employer's withholding of worker's passports remains a significant problem. Trafficking perpetrators include businesses of all sizes, private families, recruitment companies in both Saudi Arabia and labor-sending countries, and organized criminal elements.  Farzana travelled from Sri Lanka to Saudi Arabia for work to pay off debts she owed on her house. Upon arrival she was locked up with others at the agency that had recruited her. She managed to escape. 

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Thanh

The Global Slavery Index 2018 estimates that on any given day in 2016, an estimated 3.6 million men, women and chidlren were living in modern slavery in Europe and Central Asia (GSI 2018). People are subjected to exploitation in forced labour, debt bondage and forced sexual exploitation. Government response in Europe is particularly strong with a number of regional bodies holding them account and monitoring responses, and while countries in Central Asia have taken steps to tack modern slavery, more needs to be done. First trafficked at the age of five with her parents out of Vietnam into China, she and her family were promised a better life. At the age of 15, Thanh had to sleep with so many men it left her with permanent damage to her spine. She was trafficked to Russia to pick fruit, across a continent to France for sex work in a forest encampment: separated from her 11-year-old son and thrown into a refrigerated lorry to be smuggled to England. In London, she was taken to a basement for sex work and labour packing vegetables. One day she seized an opportunity to flee barefoot. Undocumented, Thanh was afraid to go to the police and only received help after a lump in her breast made her go to a doctor. Eventually she was recognised as a victim of modern slavery and with the help of the British Red Cross was reunited with her son. 

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Marcela Loaiza (Narrative 2)

There are an estimated 37,000 people living in modern slavery in Japan (GSI 2018). The country is the destination for men, women and children trafficked for forced labour and commercial sexual exploitation. The majority of trafficking victims are foreign women who migrate willingly seeking work but find themselves trapped in debt bondage, having to work in domestic and sex work to pay off fees incurred. Despite warning from the U.N., it is reported that human trafficking is on the rise in Japan. Marcela Loaiza was 21 years old when she was lured from Colombia, trapped in a sex trafficking ring, and forced by Japan’s Yakuza mafia to sell sex on the streets of Tokyo. After 18 months of sexual exploitation, she escaped, so ill that her hair and teeth were falling out. Today Loaiza, 35, runs a non-governmental organisation that bears her name to raise awareness about human trafficking among girls, women and men in Colombia and the United States, where she now lives. Loaiza spoke with Thomson Reuters Foundation by telephone from the Colombian city of Cali and recalled how she escaped forced prostitution and the mafia, and how she moved past the pain and guilt and healed.

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Beatrice

There are an estimated 10,000 people living in modern slavery in Lebanon (GSI 2018). Human traffickers exploit domestic and foreign people in Lebanon, and people from the country abroad. Women and girls from South and Southeast Asia and an increasing number from East and West Africa are subjected to domestic servitude in Lebanon. Lebanese government officials and NGOs report most employers withhold their workers passports, putting them at risk of trafficking. NGOs also report that abuse of domestic is underreported. Many migrant workers arrive in Lebanon through legal employment agencies, but are subsequently exploited or abused by their employers; some employment agencies recruit workers through fraudulent or false job offers. Beatrice travelled from Kenya to Lebanon for employment in domestic work. Despite agreeing terms before she left, upon arrival she was forced to work long hours and went unpaid.

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Zinab

ISIS has singled out the Yazidi minority, notably its women and children, for particularly brutal treatment. In August 2014, ISIS fighters abducted hundreds, possibly thousands, of Yezidi men, women and children who were fleeing the IS takeover from the Sinjar region, in the north-west of the country. Hundreds of the men were killed and others were forced to convert to Islam under threat of death. Younger women and girls, some as young as 12, were separated from their parents and older relatives and sold, given as gifts or forced to marry ISIS fighters and supporters. Zinab and her children were kidnapped by ISIS from her village. She was taken to Syria and sold four times, subjected to sexual violence and forced religious conversion. Zinab used a smuggling network to escape Syria after 20 months.

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Leann

There are an estimated 17,000 people living in conditions of slavery in Canada (GSI 2018). Both Canadian and foreign citizens are exploited in forced labour and sex trafficking. Forced labour affects migrant workers under ‘low-skilled’ temporary visa streams including the low-wage and primary agricultural streams. These workers are often in restaurants, hotels, agriculture, food preparation, construction or domestic work. Sexual exploitation of Canadian citizens is the most common form of slavery detected by authorities in the country, with 93% of sex trafficking victims being Canadian.  Leann developed an addiction issue after a serious industry left her in a wheelchair. She borrowed money to feed her addiction that resulted in her owing money to her traffickers, who forced her into forced criminal activity to pay off her debt. Leanna was forced to open bank accounts, assume fake identities and have multiple IDs to get money for her traffickers. Though she was arrested on a number of occasions, her traffickers were always waiting for her outside jail when she was released. This cycle continued for three years until her traffickers suspected she had stolen from them and locked her in a room where she was sexual and physical abused. She was finally able to escape when one day someone left the door open and she was helped by a passerby.

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Sharmila Wijeyakumar

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. Sharmila ran away from her home when she was a teenager. She found herself working in a nightclub where she was trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation. Sharmila was helped to escape by a patron of the brothel where she was being kept. However, finding herself homeless she agreed to work in another brothel. She was rescued by her family from the second brothel. While training to be a chef in Florida, Sharmila finally felt safe enough to share her trafficking experience with people she knew. However, 48 hours after doing so, she was trafficked for a third time. A church helped Sharmila escape these traffickers and she now works for the organisation Rahab’s Daughters to help other people escape their traffickers.

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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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Shamere McKenzie (Narrative 2)

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. Shamere McKenzie came to the US from Jamaica when she was 6 years old. A talented track star, she was running at college level when she injured her hamstring. With her scholarship in jeopardy, she met someone who said they could help her return to school, all she had to do was dance at his nightclub. One evening, however, Shamere was taken to a house in Brooklyn where she was told to have sex with a customer. When she refused, her trafficker threatened her life, and when she tried to leave when they returned home he beat her to unconsciousness. For eighteen months Shamere McKenzie was forced in to prostitution and trafficked across five different states under constant threats of violence. She finally escaped when her trafficker allowed her to call her mother and she was able to get a flight back to New York.