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Mun Pan

The Global Slavery Index 2018 estimates that on any given day in 2016 there were over 3.8 million people living in conditions of modern slavery in China. Women and girls from South Asia, Southeast Asia and Africa are trafficked into the country for fees of up to £30,000. The gender imbalance caused by the One Child Policy and the cultural preference for male children, has caused a shortage of women which has led to the trafficking of women to be sold as brides or to birth babies. As a result many women find themselves either deceived by promises of employment, sold or abducted and forced into marrying Chinese men who have paid for them. Mun Pan was barely 18 years old when she was trafficked from Myanmar to China and forced to provide children for Chinese men.The women in Mun Pan’s room told her that if she tried to escape, she would be murdered and her body would not be returned to her family.

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Khawng Nu

The Global Slavery Index 2018 estimates that on any given day in 2016 there were over 3.8 million people living in conditions of modern slavery in China. Women and girls from South Asia, Southeast Asia and Africa are trafficked into the country for fees of up to £30,000. The gender imbalance caused by the One Child Policy and the cultural preference for male children, has caused a shortage of women which has led to the trafficking of women to be sold as brides or to birth babies. As a result many women find themselves either deceived by promises of employment, sold or abducted and forced into marrying Chinese men who have paid for them. Khawng Nu was 22 years old when she was trafficked from the state of Kachin, northern Myanmar, to China. She thought she was going for work, however upon arrival she found that she would be used to provide children to Chinese men. Khawng Nu managed to send a message to her family, who shared it with the pastor and informed the village leaders. The broker from her village was arrested but didn’t disclose her location. Khawng Nu recalls seeing some 40 women on the floor of the building she was kept; some as young as 16. Eventually Khawng Nu’s family were able to pay a ransom for her return, borrowing from neighbours to pay the ‘fine’.

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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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Najla

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. Najla did not know exactly how old she is, but she said that she was married soon after completing her second year in secondary school, which would have made her about 15 or 16 at the time of her marriage. She has been married for seven years and has two children who were likely born before she was 18 years old. She explained how she was denied medical treatment by her in-laws.

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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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Sultana

 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. Sultana was forced to marry at 16 years old in 2009 and was pregnant less than a year later.

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Senait

There are an estimated 518,000 people living in modern slavery in Egypt, 465,000 in Sudan and an estimated 451,000 in Eritrea (GSI 2018). Since 2006 tens of thousands of Eritreans fleeing widespread human rights abuses and destitution have ended up in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. Until 2010, they passed through Sinai voluntarily and generally without any problems and crossed in to Israel. However, since then, Sudanese traffickers have kidnapped Eritreans in eastern Sudan and sold them to Egyptian traffickers in Sinai who have subjected at least hundreds to violence in order to extort large sums of money from their relatives.  Senait* was kidnapped in Sudan after leaving Eritrea. She was held for three days in Sudan and then transferred to Sinai where she spent six months chained, beaten and raped. Senait was only released after paying the smuggler’s ransom.

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Faven

There are an estimated 518,000 people living in modern slavery in Egypt, 465,000 in Sudan and an estimated 451,000 in Eritrea (GSI 2018). Since 2006 tens of thousands of Eritreans fleeing widespread human rights abuses and destitution have ended up in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. Until 2010, they passed through Sinai voluntarily and generally without any problems and crossed in to Israel. However, since then, Sudanese traffickers have kidnapped Eritreans in eastern Sudan and sold them to Egyptian traffickers in Sinai who have subjected at least hundreds to violence in order to extort large sums of money from their relatives. Faven* was fleeing to Israel from Eritrea when she was kidnapped and raped by a smuggler while travelling through Sudan.

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G

There are an estimated 518,000 people living in modern slavery in Egypt, 465,000 in Sudan and an estimated 451,000 in Eritrea (GSI 2018). Since 2006 tens of thousands of Eritreans fleeing widespread human rights abuses and destitution have ended up in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. Until 2010, they passed through Sinai voluntarily and generally without any problems and crossed in to Israel. However, since then, Sudanese traffickers have kidnapped Eritreans in eastern Sudan and sold them to Egyptian traffickers in Sinai who have subjected at least hundreds to violence in order to extort large sums of money from their relatives.  G ran away from Eritrea in 2012, hoping to find refuge in Sudan. However, while crossing the border she was kidnapped, locked up and held for ransom in Egypt. Subjected to beatings daily and raped a number of times. G was held for months while her family raised the funds to free her. However, even after being freed, she was left at the Israeli border and imprisoned.

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Noel Gomez

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. Noel was coerced into becoming a prostitute in Seattle when she was 16. She spent 15 years in the life, trying to escape numerous times and being subjected to physical and sexual abuse on a daily basis. When she was finally able to escape, Noel managed to get a job, a degree and founded her own organisation to help other women and girls subjected to forced sexual exploitation in the city.

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Radhika

There are an estimated 171,000 people living in conditions of modern slavery in Nepal (GSI 2018). Children are often subjected to forced marriage with 37% of Nepalese girls being married before the age of 18. The 2015 earthquakes devastated the country and left girls and women in an increasingly vulnerable position, leading to fears of increased child marriage rates. Poverty is both a cause and consequence of child marriage in Nepal, along with food insecurity. Moreover the dowry is practiced in many communities, leading parents to marry off their daughters at a younger age to avoid a higher price. Radhika was 17 years old when she met and started dating her boyfriend. Their parents quickly arranged a marriage and Radhika was forced to leave school and abandon her dream of becoming a nurse.

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Tehani

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.  Tehani was 8 years old when she was forced to marry a man much older than her.

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Debitu

There are an estimated 614,000 people living in conditions of modern slavery in Ethiopia (GSI 2018). Child marriage remains a deeply rooted tradition in Ethiopian communities with two in five girls being married before their 18th birthday. Child marriage is perpetuated in the country by poverty, lack of access to education and an absence of economic opportunities. Moreover, 80% of women have experienced female genital mutilation/cutting, with over half of these circumcisions occurring before a girl's first birthday.  Debitu was 14 years old when she was forced in to marriage.

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Elsa B

The Global Slavery Index 2018 estimates than there are 749,000 people living in conditions of modern slavery in Afghanistan. Women and children are subjected to sex trafficking within the country. Those who pay intermediaries to assist in finding employment, either in Afghanistan or primarily in Iran, Pakistan, India, Europe or North America are forced in to prostitution. Moreover, boy travelling unaccompanied are particularly vulnerable to sex trafficking to Greece.  Elsa was around 14 when she ran away from home to escape forced marriage. However, the person who she thought was helping her raped her, sold her to a broker and Elsa was then forced in to prostitution.

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Destaye

There are an estimated 614,000 people living in conditions of modern slavery in Ethiopia (GSI 2018). Child marriage remains a deeply rooted tradition in Ethiopian communities with two in five girls being married before their 18th birthday. Child marriage is perpetuated in the country by poverty, lack of access to education and an absence of economic opportunities. Moreover, 80% of women have experienced female genital mutilation/cutting, with over half of these circumcisions occurring before a girl's first birthday. Destaye was 11 years old when she was chosen by a priest in his twenties to be his wife. Her husband said he wanted a young, uneducated bride to ensure her virginity. He promised Destaye she could continue her education after giving birth, however childcare and having to work with her husband farming has meant she has been unable to. Destaye wanted to be a doctor.

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Jasmine Grace

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.  Jasmine Grace was 18 years old when she first met Brian. They began to see each other often and Brian bought Jasmine Grace nice things. One night, Brian took Jasmine Grace to see her friend who had become engaged in prostitution after also meeting a man. Her friend told her about the amazing life she had, how much money she was making and how her ‘boyfriend’ took care of her. After being taught how to service johns, Jasmine Grace recalls how Brian kept her under his control through beatings, violence and threats for 5 years. Though Jasmine Grace managed to escape her trafficker, she notes how her life spiralled as she became homeless and addicted to heroin, taking another 3 years before she was able to get clean. 

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Grizelda Grootbroom

There are an estimated 155,000 people living in modern slavery in South Africa (GSI 2018). South Africa remains a source, transit and destination country for men, women and children subjected to forced labour and sex trafficking. South African children were recruited from poor, rural areas to urban centres, such as Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban, and Bloemfontein, where girls were subjected to sex trafficking and domestic servitude and boys are forced to work in street vending, food service, begging, criminal activities, and agriculture. Local criminal rings organized child sex trafficking, Russian and Bulgarian crime syndicates facilitated trafficking within the Cape Town commercial sex industry, and Thai and Chinese nationals often organized the sex trafficking of Asian men and women. Nigerian syndicates dominated the commercial sex industry in several provinces. To a lesser extent, syndicates recruited South African women to Europe and Asia, where some are forced into prostitution, domestic servitude, or drug smuggling. Grizelda was 18 when she moved from Cape Town to Johannesburg on the promise of a friend she would have somewhere to stay. However, upon arrival, Grizelda’s friend took her to a house and after she left, Grizelda never saw her again. After a few hours, men began to arrive. Grizelda was subjected to physical abuse and forced in to prostitution.

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Natalie

There are an estimated 136,000 people living on conditions of modern slavery un 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.  Natalie was trafficked to England and forced in to prostitution. Though she was able to escape after a while, she was left homeless and penniless, forcing her to return to the sex industry. Natalie tried to apply for a national insurance number and go on benefits, but her claim was rejected. Natalie was also pregnant. Homeless and pregnant, Natalie made the difficult decision to get an abortion and moved in with one of her clients, who restricted her movement and confined her to the house. Eventually in 2013, Natalie was able to escape her enslavement.

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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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Megavath 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.  Megavath Rajeshwari was forced to marry at the age of 13 to a 25-year-old man. Her husband works long hours and as a result Rajeshwari is often left alone in the house all day and must care for her child by herself.