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Sandra C.

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. Sandra C. travelled to Saudi Arabia from the Philippines for work through a recruiter. She was forced to work long hours with no days off. She was only paid for five months despite working for her employer for three years. When Sandra asked to return to the Philippines, her employer threatened to put her in jail and refused to give her an exit visa or her passport.

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Fathima 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. Fathima S. travelled from Sri Lanka to Saudi Arabia for domestic work through an agent. She worked for a woman who consistently found fault with her work. Her employer called the recruitment agency who threatened to beat Fathima if she did not work to her employer’s satisfaction. Fathima asked for a new employer but was denied and was forced to continue working long hours for inadequate pay.

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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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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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Jessie

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. Jessie travelled from Kenya to Lebanon to take up employment as a domestic worker. She was subjected to long hours and sexual harassment from her employer. One day she finally decided to escape, tying bed sheets together and climbing out the window.

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Raymundo

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. Raymundo travelled from Mexico to California for work. He was promised it would be legal and took out a loan from his trafficker to pay for his visa. Upon arrival, he was forced to live in a room with 34 other men who had been trafficked. Raymundo was forced to work long hours under constant surveillance and threats of deportation. Raymundo was able to escape after approaching an inspector that had come to assess the farm.

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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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Rahat

There are an estimated 1.22 million people living in conditions of modern slavery in Indonesia (GSI 2018). Traffickers exploit both domestic and foreign victims in Indonesia. Government regulations allow employers in certain sections, including small and medium enterprises and labour-intensive industries, an exemption from minimum wage requirement, thus increasing risks of exploitation. Traffickers exploit many Indonesians through force and debt-coercion. Men, women and children are exploited in fishing, construction, on plantations, in mining and in manufacturing industries. Vessel crew on board Chinese, Korean, Vanuatuan, Taiwan, Thai, Malaysian and Philippines-flagged and/or owned fishing vessels operating in Indonesian waters subject fisherman to forced labour. Recruitment agencies lure people with promises of high wages, charge fees, assign them fake identities and labor permit documents and send them to fish long hours in waters on vessels operating under complex multinational flagging and ownership arrangements. Crews on board fishing vessels have reported low or unpaid salaries and coercive tactics such as contract discrepancies, document retention, restricted communication, poor living and working conditions, threats of violence and physical and sexual abused. Rahat was looking for work when he was encouraged by a friend to travel to Bangkok for work. He was told he would be able to make more money at sea than on land, however instead he was trafficked on to a fishing trawler in Indonesia. Conditions on the boat were awful, there was not enough food to last the crew and they were subjected to beating if they were ‘lazy.’

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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.  

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Chong Kim

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. Chong Kim’s family moved to the United States from South Korea when she was a toddler. At the age of 19 Kim met a man on a night out in Dallas, Texas whom she began dating. After a few weeks of dating, this man abducted Chong Kim and destroyed her naturalization documents. She was forced into prostitution, sent out with other women to a variety of places across the country. After a year and a half Kim was able to escape while working a casino in Las Vegas, befriending people on the maintenance staff who helped her escape.

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Natasha Herzig

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. Natasha was at the mall when a woman offered her a job in the modelling industry. She went to an office building to fill out an application and met the owner of the company. However rather than being given a job, she was kidnapped and forced into prostitution. Natasha was subjected to physical and sexual abuse daily. Natasha tells of the psychological effects of her trafficking and how she is now working towards preventing what happened to her happening ton anyone else.

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S.

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. S was born in Albania to a poor family who forced her to marry someone living in Greece at the age of 14. S moved to Greece with her husband illegally, subjected to emotional and physical abuse daily. After a year, S escaped her marriage and was deported back to Albania, however after giving birth to her daughter, Sara, S’s father forced her into another marriage with a 60-year-old man. S escaped this second forced marriage with the help of her father’s friend she had known since she was ten years old. This man, however, attempted to traffik S into prostitution in Italy. She was caught by police on a boat and referred to a safe place back in Albania.

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P.

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. P was in high school when she fell in love with a boy who convinced her to go to Belgium with him. Upon arrival, he became abusive and trafficked P for six months across the country. P was finally able to escape and find shelter with people who helped her return to Albania.

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M.

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. M was walking to a friend’s house when she was abducted and taken to a house in Vlore where other girls were being kept. After being held there for two weeks, M was smuggled by boat to Italy and then on to Paris by train and then on again to Brussels. Upon arrival, M was forced into prostitution, subjected to physical and sexual abuse daily. One night, M was rescued by police who referred her to a shelter who are assisting M in reuniting with her family.

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O.

There are an estimated 145,000 people living in conditions of modern slavery in Italy (GSI 2018). Italy is a destination, transit, and source country for women, children, and men subjected to sex trafficking and forced labour. Victims originate from Nigeria, Romania, Morocco, China, and other countries. Female victims are often subjected to sex trafficking in Italy after accepting promises of employment as dancers, singers, models, restaurant servers, or caregivers. Romanian and Albanian criminal groups force Eastern European women and girls into commercial sex. O.’s was forced to marry a man she did not know when she was 14-years old and move to Greece to live with her ‘husband’. She was subjected to physical abuse daily and left after 3 weeks. A neighbour promised to find her a job in Italy, where she travelled to illegally by boat. However, upon arrival she was forced into prostitution, beaten daily until she agreed to work on the streets. O. was able to leave her situation when the police caught her and took her to a centre for minors, where she stayed for a year and a half.

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Angela (Narrative 3)

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. Angela Guanzon was living in the Philippines facing the choice of forced marriage or unemployment when she was recruited as a health care worker in California. Upon arrival, Angela was told she owed the recruiter $12,000 and would have to work for 10 years to pay off the debt. She was forced to work long hours on little sleep and received limited food. She was finally able to escape her exploitation when a neighbour recognised the signs of labor trafficking and contacted the FBI. Angela now works with anti-trafficking charities including CAST-LA to educate people on human trafficking.

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Angela (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. Angela Guanzon was facing the prospect of being forced into marriage or being jobless in the Philippines, leading her to seek out work abroad. She thought all her problems had been solved when she in 2005 was recruited for a health care job in California. However, upon arrival her trafficker demanded $12,000 for the ‘opportunity. Her passport was seized, and they threatened to call the police and tell them Angela had stolen something if she ran away. Guanzon was ordered to work for 10 years to pay off the debt at $300 a month. Angela was forced to work 18-hour days and sleep on the hallway floor of an elder care facility in Long Beach. Her exploitation finally ended after a neighbour noticed the signs of labour trafficking and contacted the FBI.

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Witness B

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 B was brought to the United Kingdom by her employer to work as a domestic worker to support her family. Upon arrival, Witness B was not fed, was subjected to physical abuse and was not paid for their work. After 12 weeks she ran away, scared for her life. Though Witness B was helped by a charity organisation under the National Referral Mechanism, she was still unable to work in the UK and provide for her family. Witness B tells of her experience of the current support system in place in the UK for human trafficking survivors, believing it inadequate for trafficked domestic workers such as herself.

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Joanna

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. Joanna was born in a small town in Europe/ When she was 18 she met a man who said he wanted to marry her. They began seeing each other and Joanna became pregnant. Her boyfriend took Joanna to the United States where their child was born. Unable to read, Joanna was told to sign a piece of paper at the hospital and never saw her child again. She was taken to an apartment building where other young girls like her were being kept. Joanna was forced to provide sexual services, raped multiple times a day. She was finally able to escape one day when she became ill.

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Adup Aguer Deng

There are an estimated 465,000 people living in modern slavery in Sudan (GSI 2018). Between 1983 and 2005, the central government of Sudan enslaved tens of thousands of black South Sudanese Christian and traditionalist people. It was part of a genocidal war against South Sudan, with a simple aim: to force South Sudan to become Arab and Muslim. Adup Aguer Deng was captured in 1998 after being found hiding in a forest amidst fighting between the SPLA and Arabs. After being walked to northern Sudan she was forced to work on a farm and convert to Islam. Adup was finally freed in 2016.