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Chepkorir

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

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Shin Dong Hyuk (Narrative 2)

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

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Witness A

There are an estimated 136,000 people living on conditions of modern slavery in the United Kingdom (Global Slavery Index 2018). According to the 2017 annual figures provided by the National Crime Agency, 5, 145 potential victims of modern slavery were referred through the National Referral Mechanism in 2017, of whom 2,454 were female, 2688 were male and 3 were transgender, with 41% of all referrals being children at the time of exploitation. People are subjected to slavery in the UK in the form of domestic servitude, labour exploitation, organ harvesting and sexual exploitation, with the largest number of potential victims originating from Albania, China, Vietnam and Nigeria. This data however does not consider the unknown numbers of victims that are not reported. Witness A was trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation in the UK as a minor. Witness A tells of the numerous organisations and agencies who failed to recognise that she had been trafficked, resulting in her continued exploitation. Subjected to sexual and physical violence, Witness A often found herself in contact with A&E, the police and child services who did not help her escape her exploiters and, on occasion, placed the blame upon herself. Witness A states that it was not until she reached out to the Salvation Army that she was able to escape her exploitation and was placed in a safehouse. However, Witness A talks about the lack of support available even after she was rescued from her traffickers.

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Bilal

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

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Jamie

There are an estimated 403,000 people living in modern slavery in the United States (GSI 2018). Sex trafficking exists throughout the country. Traffickers use violence, threats, lies, debt bondage and other forms of coercion to compel adults and children to engage in commercial sex acts against their will. The situations that sex trafficking victims face vary, many victims become romantically involved with someone who then forces them into prostitution. Others are lured with false promises of a job, and some are forced to sell sex by members of their own families. Victims of sex trafficking include both foreign nationals and US citizens, with women making up the majority of those trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation. In 2015, the most reported venues/industries for sex trafficking included commercial-front brothels, hotel/motel-based trafficking, online advertisements with unknown locations, residential brothels, and street-based sex trafficking. Jamie was kidnapped from her home by three men and forced into commercial sexual exploitation. She was subjected to rape and sexual violence every day

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Ram

There are an estimated 610,000 people living in conditions of modern slavery in Thailand (GSI 2018). The country is a source, destination and transit country for men, women and children subjected to forced labour and sex trafficking. Thailand’s commercial sex indusrty remains vast, increasing vulnerabilities for sex trafficking. Children are victims of sex trafficking in brothels, massage parlours, bars, karaoke lounges, hotels and private residences. People are trafficked from other Southeast Asian countries, Sri Lanka, Russia, Uzbekistan and some African countries. It is also a transit country for people from China, North Korea, Bangladesh, India and Burma. Ram ran away from an abusive home and was forced to live on the streets. One day while stealing food from a local market, Ram was kidnapped by a street gang. Ram was forced to steal from tourists during the day and at night was sold for sex to older men. Ram’s exploitation finally came to an end when his trafficker was arrested.

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Ratree

There are an estimated 610,000 people living in conditions of modern slavery in Thailand (GSI 2018). The country is a source, destination and transit country for men, women and children subjected to forced labour and sex trafficking. Thailand’s commercial sex indusrty remains vast, increasing vulnerabilities for sex trafficking. Children are victims of sex trafficking in brothels, massage parlours, bars, karaoke lounges, hotels and private residences. People are trafficked from other Southeast Asian countries, Sri Lanka, Russia, Uzbekistan and some African countries. It is also a transit country for people from China, North Korea, Bangladesh, India and Burma. Ratree left her home village in Thailand at the age of 13 to look for work. She found a job working for a woman in a hotel, however the work turned out to be not how she had imagined. Ratree was forced to have sex with older men, subjected to sexual violence and rape daily. Ratree’s exploitation was finally ended when undercover police performed a raid on the hotel.

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Jaya

The Global Slavery Index 2018 estimates that on any given day there were nearly 8 million people living in modern slavery in India. The GSI 2018 reports an emerging trend in northeast India where organised trafficking syndicates operate along the open and unmanned international borders, duping or coercing young girls seeking employment outside their local area in to forced sexual exploitation. Many women and girls are lured with the promise of a good job but then forced in to sex work, with a 'conditioning' period involving violence, threats, debt bondage and rape.  Jaya grew up in a brothel in India, subjected to rape and sexual violence daily from an early age. Jaya’s exploitation finally ended one night when the police raided the brothel and arrested her trafficker.

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Romina

Countries in Latin America are source, transit and destination countries for trafficking in persons. People are exploited within their own countries and trafficked to other countries in the region, with Latin America being the primary source region for people trafficked to the United States. Major forms of trafficking in persons include commercial sexual exploitation of women and children, labour trafficking within national borders and among countries in the region, and the trafficking of illegal immigrants in Mexico and Central America. The two countries in Latin America and the Caribbean with the largest percentages of their population subjected to modern slavery, are Haiti and the Dominican Republic, according to the Walk Free Foundation. Romina was living on the streets with her father from the age of 9. One day her father was killed and Romina was put into the care of his friend Hugo. From the age of 13, Hugo trafficked Romina into commercial sexual exploitation. Romina was drugged and subjected to daily sexual violence until one day she was rescued during a police raid.

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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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Medamani Nagamma

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. Medamani Nagamma was forced to marry at a young age. Within the marriage she was forced to do housework and raped by her husband. After a complicated pregnancy it was suggested that she undergo sterilisation.

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James Kofi Anan

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 labor and sex trafficking. Ghanaian boys and girls are subjected to forced labor within the country in fishing, domestic service, street hawking, begging, portering, artisanal gold mining, quarrying, herding, and agriculture, including cocoa. Research focused on the fishing industry on Lake Volta indicated that more than half of the children working on and around the lake were born in other communities and many of these children are subjected to forced labor; not allowed to attend school; given inadequate housing and clothing; and are controlled by fishermen through intimidation, violence, and limiting access to food. Boys as young as five years old are forced to work in hazardous conditions, including deep diving, and many suffer waterborne infections. A study of the prevalence of child trafficking in selected communities in the Volta and Central Regions indicated that children from nearly one-third of the 1,621 households surveyed had been subjected to trafficking, primarily in fishing and domestic servitude.  James Kofi Anan tells of his own experience of child trafficking for fishing on Lake Volta, Ghana. He talks about how this representative of child trafficking in the area and how he thinks people can work towards the ending of human trafficking. Kofi Anan also provides details on his own anti-child trafficking organisation Challenging Heights.

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Musa

There are an estimated 36,000 people living in conditions of modern slavery in Sierra Leone (GSI 2018). Sierra Leone is a source and destination country for men, women and children subjected to forced labour and sex trafficking. During the Sierra Leone Civil War 1991 to 2002 the Revolutionary United Front  (RUF) sought to mobilise a youth underclass to form a ‘people’s army’ to overthrow the Momoh regime. The RUF abducted and trained numbers of captured youth to fight as child soldiers in their guerrilla warfare.  Musa, now about 20, was captured and forcibly inducted by the RUF/SL in a raid into north-western Sierra Leone in January 1995. Although he completed guerrilla training and served on operations, he never gained any promotion in the movement, remaining ambivalent about the struggle. He is frank that his lack of conviction was more a question of the hardship than of any political objection. He found that the RUF's ideological teaching about the state of Sierra Leone made sense. When interviewed in October 1996 he had managed to escape four weeks previously, after nearly two years, and had been re-accepted in his home community, a town not badly affected by the war. Musa provides a remarkable account of RUF/SL aims and operations, and of life in one of the guerrilla camps. In some respects, the account supports the picture the movement paints in its own propaganda document (RUFSL, 1995). The Gurkhas referred to in the account were a mercenary force of ex-Gurkhas led by a Canadian Vietnam veteran [Colonel Robert Mackenzie] hired by the NPRC government. Mackenzie was killed, and the survivors were withdrawn shortly afterwards, to be replaced by the South African private security firm Executive Outcomes.]

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Gabriel

There are an estimated 36,000 people living in conditions of modern slavery in Sierra Leone (GSI 2018). Sierra Leone is a source and destination country for men, women and children subjected to forced labour and sex trafficking. During the Sierra Leone Civil War 1991 to 2002 the Revolutionary United Front  (RUF) sought to mobilise a youth underclass to form a ‘people’s army’ to overthrow the Momoh regime. The RUF abducted and trained numbers of captured youth to fight as child soldiers in their guerrilla warfare. Gabriel* was captured as a youth in a raid by the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) in Sierra Leone. Gabriel tells of how he escaped from the militant forces after being held for a week.

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Kylee

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.  Kylee Gregg was trafficked in rural Ohio from the age of 10 until she was 14, beginning in 2010. She told her story at the age of 18, as a college student, during an interview with Francine Sporenda for the Révolution Féministe website. It was originally published in French and then in English by Nordic Model Now!, a UK secular, feminist, grassroots women’s group campaigning for the abolition of prostitution and related practices. Kylee identifies as a lesbian radical feminist and runs an activist organisation called Womyn Unleashed.

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Jewell

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.  Jewell Baraka was exploited for three years in prostitution and three years in pornography in the 1980s and 1990s, from age 11 to 17, in Portland, Oregon. Her narrative is from an interview with Francine Sporenda for the Révolution Féministe website, originally published in French and then in English by Nordic Model Now!, a UK secular, feminist, grassroots women’s group campaigning for the abolition of prostitution and related practices.

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Dut Yai Yai

Dut Yai Yai was ‘redeemed’ (bought out of slavery) by Christian Solidarity International (CSI), a Zurich-based international human rights organization, in January 2007. He told his story to CSI staff in Aweil State, Southern Sudan. 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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Fatima

According to the Global Slavery Index (2018) there are an estimated 47,000 people living in modern slavery in Guatemala. Guatemalan men, women, and children are exploited in forced labour within the country, often in agriculture or domestic service, and in the garment industry, and domestic service in Mexico, the United States, and other countries. Indigenous Guatemalans, including children, are particularly vulnerable to and exploited in forced labour, including in tortilla making shops. Guatemalan children are exploited in forced begging and street vending, particularly within Guatemala City and along the border with Mexico.  8-year-old Fatima has to work on a coffee farm fetching water in order to help her mother earn enough money. Fatima’s mother described how “we leave at 6 or 6:30 and we work until 3pm. She takes care of her little brother. When she’s not doing that she’s helping me work. When we finish watering coffee plants, we pick up wood. There are times when I don’t have enough. This is why I couldn’t send her to school this year. She wanted to but I just couldn’t pay for that. Fatima has never been in school. I think she would be a good student so she could learn a lot. She could go forward and support her family in the future.”

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Sanjida

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. Sanjida was trafficked from Assam to Haryana when she was 10 years old. She was kept by a family for four years who forced her to do manual labour in the fields.  

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James Kofi Annan

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.  As the youngest child of an illiterate family, James Kofi Annan was sent away by his father to work in a fishing village nine hours away from his home in Winneba. He worked as a child fisherman in more than 20 villages between the ages of six and thirteen. He opened up a school where he lives now in Ghana and empowers children at risk through educational efforts.