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Arunny

There are an estimated 261,000 people living in modern slavery in Cambodia (GSI 2018). All of Cambodia's 25 provinces are sources for human trafficking. Cambodian women and girls move from rural areas to cities and tourist destinations where they are subjected to sex trafficking in brothels, beer gardens, massage parlors and salons. Cambodian men form the largest source of demand for children exploited in prostitution, although men from across the world travel to the country to engage in child sex tourism. Arunny* was trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation at the age of twelve in Cambodia.

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Sarah

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. Sarah grew up in California. Her cousin was the leader of a gang and its members were often guarding the house. One of the gang members abused Sarah as a child and when her cousin found out, he was forced to retaliate, and Sarah now owed him. After this incident, she became a source of income and was put to work trafficking drugs. One day, her cousin bought her new dresses, took photos of her to sell to older men. When Sarah tried to seek help at school, she was locked up for a week as punishment. Later, when she was seventeen, Sarah’s cousin was arrested and though she was free from his control, she had nowhere to go and she was soon trafficked again by an old friend into adult entertainment. When she was 23, Sarah stole her second trafficker’s car keys and escaped. After living a life of abuse, trafficking, and drug abuse, Sarah struggled to go about ‘normal life.’ She talks about her journey overcoming her trauma and moving forward.

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Loreta

There are an estimated 17,000 people living in modern slavery in Lithuania and 145,000 in Italy (GSI 2018). Lithuanian people are trafficked within the country and abroad. Men and boys are exploited in forced criminal activity such as shoplifting, and women and girls in commercial sex. 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. Loreta experienced physical abuse as a child in a children’s home. She turned to drugs at thirteen years old. The only visitor she had at the home was a man who claimed to be her Godfather. He promised she could live with him when she turned fifteen and could legally leave the home. But he had previously raped her and when she was forced to live with him, her drug abuse increase. Shortly after, Loreta was trafficked into prostitution by a woman claiming to be her sister. When she was seventeen, she was told that pimp wanted to sell her abroad. She was taken to Italy. She was eventually able to escape after seeking help from a Lithuanian man who called the police.  

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Stephanie

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. Stephanie* was trafficked by her friend’s father for commercial sexual exploitation. The men that raped her threatened her if she said anything. Her exploitation led her to addiction and prostitution.

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Lena

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. Lena* left home at the age of fourteen and was trafficked in Oklahoma by a man for commercial sexual exploitation.

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Talia

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. Talia* was trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation at the age of twelve in Texas. She was abused in a truck driver prostitution ring by her adopted parents who mentally and physically abused her at home.

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Pamela

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. Pamela* was trafficked for sex and child pornography at the age of five by a group of people her family were involved with.

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Brian

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. Brian* was trafficked by his dad when he was eleven years old. He was taken to an old house for child sexual exploitation. He was locked in a basement and raped, drugged, and beaten by different men.

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Katerina

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. Katerina was trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation at the age of thirteen.

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Bella

There are an estimated 261,000 people living in modern slavery in Cambodia (GSI 2018). All of Cambodia's 25 provinces are sources for human trafficking. Cambodian women and girls move from rural areas to cities and tourist destinations where they are subjected to sex trafficking in brothels, beer gardens, massage parlours and salons. Cambodian men form the largest source of demand for children exploited in prostitution, although men from across the world travel to the country to engage in child sex tourism. Bella is from Phnom Penh, Cambodia. She was trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation at the age of 12. Bella was able to find refuge in a faith-based organization.

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Charlotte

There is an estimated 304,000 people living in modern slavery in Uganda (GSI 2018). Children are exploited in forced labour in agriculture, fishing, forestry, cattle herding, mining, stone quarrying, brick making, carpentry, steel manufacturing, street vending, bars, restaurants, gold mining, and domestic service. Traffickers exploit girls and boys in commercial sex and recruiters particularly target girls and women aged 13-24 for domestic sex trafficking, especially near sports tournaments and road construction projects. Children were targeted by the Lord’s Resistance Army, a Ugandan rebel group that originated in 1987 in northern Uganda among ethnic Acholi communities. When civilian support for the LRA waned in the early 1990s, they group because increasingly violent. According to Human Rights Watch, the abductions of children was one of the LRA’s hallmarks. They were predominantly used as porters but were also forced to undergo ‘military training,’ and girls were forced to become ‘wives’ of LRA fighters. Charlotte was abducted from her school in Aboke, Uganda, by the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), at the age of 14. She was among 139 girls held in captivity to be a child soldier and a sexual companion for the LRA’s men. One of her overseers was Joseph Kony, who told these young girls that he was the second coming of Jesus, and made them believe he was a good, righteous man.

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James

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 labour 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 labour; 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. James was forced into child labour by his father, in Winneba, Ghana. From the age of six to thirteen he was forced to work long hours as a child fisherman with little food and no access to medical care.

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Cristina

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.  Cristina, a 15-year-old girl from Romania was forced into marriage against her will at the age of 13 in England. She travelled to Spain and Belgium with her husband where he forced her to steal under threats of violence.

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Jerome

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. Jerome was trafficked into child pornography and commercial sexual exploitation  by his mother’s boyfriend at the age of five.

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Medina

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. 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. Women and children are also subjected to commercial sexual exploitation and sex trafficking in prostitution and pornography. Medina*, a 15-year-old girl from Kazakhstan was trafficked after being sold by her parents. The man who bought her forged her birth certificate and took her to Russia where she was forced to do domestic work and was subjected to sexual exploitation.

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Maxim

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. Maxim*, a 20-year-old man from Kazakhstan was bought as a child and trafficked to Russia. He met a man who promised to help him build a career fighting, but when he arrived in Sverdlovsk he was forced into an illegal fighting ring.

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Rakesh

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. Rakesh’s sister told him she would help him continue his education in Kathmandu. However, upon arrival she took him to a carpet factory where he was physically abused and had his food withheld. He was found by GoodWeave who took him to a transit home and gave him education opportunities.

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Hem Moktan

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. Hem was brought to a carpet factory in Kathmandu where his parents hoped he would work towards a better future. He was forced to work day and night, often half-starved and regularly beaten. Because he was small and a somewhat slow weaver, the others tormented him. Night and day, with long iron rods and balling equipment, the weavers would beat him to the point of tears and bruises. After a company in the West signed with GoodWeave, inspectors found Hem working in a carpet factory in Kathmandu and enrolled him in the transit home for rescued children. Fourteen years after he was rescued and rehabilitated by GoodWeave, Hem responded to a job posting to join GoodWeave’s inspection team. He was hired and later on promoted to be the Child Development Officer to work one-on-one with rescued children.

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Sangeetha

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.  Sangeetha was sixteen years old when a relative proposed her married to a twenty-nine-year-old man. Despite seeking help from an organisation and wanting to remain in education, Sangeetha was married in a hurry.  

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Nasreen Sheikh

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. Nasreen was born up into what she recognised as an oppressive society after witnessing the murder of her aunt and forced marriage of her older sister. To get out of her village, Nasreen travelled to Kathmandu to live with her cousin when she was nine years old. Here she experienced forced child labour and was forced to work twelve-hour days with little pay and poor living conditions. After two years the work ended, and she was left homeless. She received help from a stranger and began a distance education course. She recalls how this education brought her to understand the issues affecting Kathmandu society and sought out ways to address these. At fifteen years old she started Local Women’s Handicrafts to empower women and girls recovering from trauma and living in poverty.