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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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Achai

Thousands of women and children were taken into slavery during the decades of Sudan’s civil war, mainly from Northern Bahr El Ghazal and the Nuba Mountains. Slave-taking was revived in 1985 by the National Islamic government of Sudan primarily as a weapon against counterinsurgents in the South, and secondarily a way to reimburse its surrogate soldiers for neutralizing this threat. In 1989 the government created the Popular Defense Forces (PDF), militia trained to raid villages and take people as slaves. PDF recruits were allowed to keep whoever they captured, along with booty of grain and cattle. One study documents 12,000 abductions by name, while NGOs offer estimates ranging from 15,000 to 200,000. The slaves were often moved to large towns in the north on week-long journeys during which the women were repeatedly raped, and then sold to new masters who used them without pay for farming and sexual services. The peace process brought these PDF abductions to an end, but inter-tribal abductions continue in Southern Sudan. In addition, Sudanese children are used by rebel groups in the ongoing conflict in Darfur; Sudanese boys from the country’s eastern Rashaida tribe continue to be trafficked to the Middle East for use as camel jockeys; the rebel organization “Lord’s Resistance Army” has forcibly conscripted children in Southern Sudan for use as combatants in its war against Uganda; and the institution of chattel slavery continues in southern Darfur and southern Kordofan.

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Adelina

Born in Albania, Adelina was trafficked within the country. Many women are trafficked into richer Western European countries from the poorer Eastern countries, including Albania. The fall of communism in 1991 led to a rise in organized crime in Albania: in 2001 it was estimated 100,000 Albanian women and girls had been trafficked to Western European and other Balkan countries in the preceding ten years. More than 65 percent of Albanian sex-trafficking victims are minors at the time they are trafficked, and at least 50 percent of victims leave home under the false impression that they will be married or engaged to an Albanian or foreigner and live abroad. Another ten percent are kidnapped or forced into prostitution. The women and girls receive little or no pay for their work, and are commonly tortured if they do not comply.

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Afrah

There are an estimated 85,000 people living in modern slavery in Yemen (GSI 2018). Young girls are subjected to child forced marriage, with UNICEF estimating 32% of girls being married before the age of 18. There is currently no legal age of marriage in Yemen and poverty, the practice of dowry and strict social and religious customs are drivers of child marriage in the country. With the onset of conflict within the country, estimates suggest that child marriage is on the rise. Afrah was 16 years old when she was forced to leave school and get married.

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Agor

Agor was ‘redeemed’ (bought out of slavery) by Christian Solidarity International (CSI), a Zurich-based international human rights organization, in January 2007. Along with the three main types of modern slavery (chattel slavery, debt bondage, and contract slavery), war slavery is another form of contemporary bondage. Thousands of women and children were taken into slavery during the decades of Sudan’s civil war, mainly from Northern Bahr El Ghazal and the Nuba Mountains. Slave-taking was revived in 1985 by the National Islamic government of Sudan primarily as a weapon against counterinsurgents in the South, and secondarily a way to reimburse its surrogate soldiers for neutralizing this threat. In 1989 the government created the Popular Defense Forces (PDF), militia trained to raid villages and take people as slaves. PDF recruits were allowed to keep whoever they captured, along with booty of grain and cattle. One study documents 12,000 abductions by name, while NGOs offer estimates ranging from 15,000 to 200,000. The slaves were often moved to large towns in the north on week-long journeys during which the women were repeatedly raped, and then sold to new masters who used them without pay for farming and sexual services. The peace process brought these PDF abductions to an end, but inter-tribal abductions continue in Southern Sudan. In addition, Sudanese children are used by rebel groups in the ongoing conflict in Darfur; Sudanese boys from the country’s eastern Rashaida tribe continue to be trafficked to the Middle East for use as camel jockeys; the rebel organization “Lord’s Resistance Army” has forcibly conscripted children in Southern Sudan for use as combatants in its war against Uganda; and the institution of chattel slavery continues in southern Darfur and southern Kordofan.

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Ah Jing

Ah Jing’s parents were arrested for practising Falun Gong when she was seven or eight years old. In China she had been homeless, fending for herself, earning a meagre living trading scrap paper, cardboard, cans, bottles, jars and books. When she was 16, she borrowed some money from some snakeheads who then told her they could find her work in the UK, so that she could repay what she owed. Before she left China Ah Jing owed ¥100,000 to the snakeheads: on arrival in the UK she owed a further ¥170,000, making ¥270,000 in total. Ah Jing had willingly left her hard life in China, where she had no identity papers, money or home. Once she was in the UK, her debts had increased and she was pressurised into sex work, which she resisted. She was raped by a snakehead and became pregnant. As she was no further use as a sex worker, she was released with threats that if she told anyone about her ordeal, they would take revenge.

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Aisha

Uganda remains a source, transit and destination country for men, women and children subjected to forced labour and sex trafficking. Ugandan children as young as seven are exploited in forced labour in agriculture, fishing, forestry, cattle herding, mining, carpentry, bars, restaurants and domestic service. Girls and boys are also exploited in prostitution, with recruiters targeting girls and women between the ages of 13 and 24 for domestic sex trafficking. 54,000 girls under 18 are sex workers in Uganda. Lured by false promises of education and good jobs. Others are escaping poverty, sexual abuse and child marriage. Aisha was 13 years old when she was first forced to provide sexual services for men by her employer. Aisha travelled to Kampala City under the promise that she would be working in a bar and using her salary to pay for school. However, instead she was forced in to child prostitution. Aisha became pregnant less than a year after she had been trafficked, and rather than pay for her education, all the money she earned she sent back to her mother who was caring for her children. Aisha was finally able to escape her situation with the help of Plan International’s programme to help and train young girls exploited in sex work for a better future.

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Ajok

Thousands of women and children were taken into slavery during the decades of Sudan’s civil war, mainly from Northern Bahr El Ghazal and the Nuba Mountains. Slave-taking was revived in 1985 by the National Islamic government of Sudan primarily as a weapon against counterinsurgents in the South, and secondarily a way to reimburse its surrogate soldiers for neutralizing this threat. In 1989 the government created the Popular Defense Forces (PDF), militia trained to raid villages and take people as slaves. PDF recruits were allowed to keep whoever they captured, along with booty of grain and cattle. One study documents 12,000 abductions by name, while NGOs offer estimates ranging from 15,000 to 200,000. The slaves were often moved to large towns in the north on week-long journeys during which the women were repeatedly raped, and then sold to new masters who used them without pay for farming and sexual services. The peace process brought these PDF abductions to an end, but inter-tribal abductions continue in Southern Sudan. In addition, Sudanese children are used by rebel groups in the ongoing conflict in Darfur; Sudanese boys from the country’s eastern Rashaida tribe continue to be trafficked to the Middle East for use as camel jockeys; the rebel organization “Lord’s Resistance Army” has forcibly conscripted children in Southern Sudan for use as combatants in its war against Uganda; and the institution of chattel slavery continues in southern Darfur and southern Kordofan.

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Ajok A.

Ajok A. was ‘redeemed’ (bought out of slavery) by Christian Solidarity International (CSI), a Zurich-based international human rights organization, in 1999. Along with the three main types of modern slavery (chattel slavery, debt bondage, and contract slavery), war slavery is another form of contemporary bondage. Thousands of women and children were taken into slavery during the decades of Sudan’s civil war, mainly from Northern Bahr El Ghazal and the Nuba Mountains. Slave-taking was revived in 1985 by the National Islamic government of Sudan primarily as a weapon against counterinsurgents in the South, and secondarily a way to reimburse its surrogate soldiers for neutralizing this threat. In 1989 the government created the Popular Defense Forces (PDF), militia trained to raid villages and take people as slaves. PDF recruits were allowed to keep whoever they captured, along with booty of grain and cattle. One study documents 12,000 abductions by name, while NGOs offer estimates ranging from 15,000 to 200,000. The slaves were often moved to large towns in the north on week-long journeys during which the women were repeatedly raped, and then sold to new masters who used them without pay for farming and sexual services. The peace process brought these PDF abductions to an end, but inter-tribal abductions continue in Southern Sudan. In addition, Sudanese children are used by rebel groups in the ongoing conflict in Darfur; Sudanese boys from the country’s eastern Rashaida tribe continue to be trafficked to the Middle East for use as camel jockeys; the rebel organization “Lord’s Resistance Army” has forcibly conscripted children in Southern Sudan for use as combatants in its war against Uganda; and the institution of chattel slavery continues in southern Darfur and southern Kordofan.

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Alexia

Born in Venezula, Alexia was trafficked through Venezuela, the Dominican Republic, Trinidad and Tobago. She went on to work in Venezuela with an organization that helps women to escape from sex slavery. Venezuela is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor. Venezuelan women and girls are trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation to Western Europe and Mexico, in addition to Caribbean destinations such as Trinidad and Tobago, Aruba, and the Dominican Republic. Men, women, and children from Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Brazil, the Dominican Republic, and the People’s Republic of China (P.R.C.) are trafficked to and through Venezuela and may be subjected to commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor. In addition, Venezuelan women and girls are trafficked within the country for sexual exploitation, recruited from poor regions in the nation’s interior to urban and tourist areas through false job offers.

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Amal

There are an estimated 85,000 people living in modern slavery in Yemen (GSI 2018). Young girls are subjected to child forced marriage, with UNICEF estimating 32% of girls being married before the age of 18. There is currently no legal age of marriage in Yemen and poverty, the practice of dowry and strict social and religious customs are drivers of child marriage in the country. With the onset of conflict within the country, estimates suggest that child marriage is on the rise. Amal was married when she was 15 and had her only daughter when she was 17.

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Amanthi K.

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.Amanthi K. travelled to Saudi Arabia for work where she was trapped in domestic servitude. She became pregnant after her employer raped her and was sentenced to nine months in prison for adultery in 2006. Amanthi K. reported that there was an interpreter between Arabic and Sinhala, but that she had no lawyer. The Saudi authorities did not provide her with an opportunity to notify the Sri Lankan mission about her case and she had no contact or assistance from them during her ordeal.

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Anita A

Despite signs of progress, Bangladesh continues to have one of the highest child marriage rates in the world.66% of girls in Bangladesh are married under 18 with the average age of marriage for girls in the country being 15. As well as deeply embedded cultural beliefs, poverty, is also a driving factor for child marriage, with parents’ seeking to obtain economic and social security for their daughter. Dowry also continues to be a driving factor, with prices often increasing the older a girl gets.    Anita was 13 years old when she was forced to marry a man she did not know. Anita became pregnant 5 months in to the marriage at 14 years old. Her delivery was extremely difficult and the baby died, leaving Anita in severe pain and injured. Anita now worries that if she cannot have another baby, her husband will leave her. 

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Anumaraju Rajeshwari

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.  Rajeswari’s two elder sisters are married. She and her two younger sisters have dropped out of school and work on agriculture doing hard labour on cotton and chilli farms as migrant labourers. Rajeswari was forced into marriage at 14years old after which she suffered two miscarriages and physical abuse as a result.

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AR

There are an estimated 31,000 people living in condition of modern slavery in Israel (GSI 2018). Women from Eastern Europe, China and Ghana, as well as Eritrean men and women are subjected to sex trafficking in Israel. People are often lured through the promise of seemingly legitimate jobs, only to be subjected to commercial sexual exploitation upon arrival.  Here AR tells of her experience of medical care while being held in a brothel in Israel.

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Ashia C

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 labor 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. According to Human Rights Watch, thirty-seven percent of girls in Nepal marry before age 18 and 10 percent are married by age 15, in spite of the fact that the minimum age of marriage under Nepali law is 20 years of age. UNICEF data indicates that Nepal has the third highest rate of child marriage in Asia, after Bangladesh and India   Ashia C was forced to marry at an early age. Within the marriage she was subjected to physical violence.

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Bukola Oriola (Narrative 2)

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. Bukola Oriola, a Nigerian international news journalist was on a visit to New York to cover the UN 50th Anniversary, when she was invited by the man who it had arranged would be her husband to visit him in Minnesota. Upon arrival, he convinced her to stay, organising a spousal visa. However, Bukola soon found herself confined to the home with her movements monitored at all times. She was finally able to escape her situation after the birth of her child with the help of a public health nurse.

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Byagari Anitha

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. Byagari Anitha wanted to continue her studies, but was forced to marry a boy from her village after her father became terminally ill. Though the authorities attempted to intervene, Byagari’s family forced her to marry in a secret ceremony against her will.

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Chittamma

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.  Chittamma was forced to marry her cousin when she was 17 years old. Though Chittamma goes out for wage work, everything she earns is given to her husband and she does not have enough food to eat. 

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Christelle

There are an estimated 9000 people living in conditions of modern slavery in Gabon (GSI 2018). The country is a primary destination and transit country for West and Central African men, women and children subjected to forced labour and sex trafficking. Boys are forced to work as street vendors, mechanics, or in microbus transportation and the fishing sector. Girls are subjected to domestic servitude and forced labor in markets or roadside restaurants. Gabonese children are exploited as market vendors in eastern provinces of the country. In some cases, families willingly give children to intermediaries who fraudulently promise education or terms of employment they ultimately do not provide, instead subjecting the children to forced labor through debt bondage. Some traffickers procure falsified documents for child trafficking victims to make them appear older than 18 years old to avoid prosecution under the child trafficking law.  Christelle’s home village is Assahoun, in the southwest of Togo (Maritime Region). She is the eldest of five children and was in Standard Five at the Catholic Primary School when she left with traffickers on the long journey to Gabon. Today, Christelle is back in her village with her parents. She is under apprenticeship to become a seamstress. Her training is being supported as part of a joint effort by Plan Togo and the Department for the Protection and Promotion of the Family and Children and is financed by Plan Togo.