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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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Soneeya

There are an estimated 171,000 people living in modern slavery in Nepal. Internal trafficking is significant in Nepal. Girls are trafficked internally for forced labour, sexual exploitation and forced marriage. A significant number of girls are estimated to be trafficked for sexual exploitation in Kathmandu’s entertainment sector and across the open border with India to Mumbai and other urban centres. Recent research in Kathmandu found that between 40 and 60 per cent of the females interviewed in entertainment sector workplaces (massage parlours, dance bars and cabin restaurants) were under the age of 19. Poverty is a significant driving factor for the exploitation and forced marriage of young girls in the country as although levels are declining, an estimated 10 million people live on incomes between USD1.90 and USD3.20 a day. When Soneeya was 15 years old, she was forced to marry a man 13 years older. She was subjected to physical and sexual abuse daily.

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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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Sade

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. Sade*was pregnant when she escaped sexual exploitation in East London. She recounts her negative experiences of dealing with the police upon her escape.

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Christelle

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

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Rajita Atri

There are an estimated 171,000 people living in modern slavery in Nepal. 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.Rajitra was forced to marry at a young age, causing complications with her pregnancies. 

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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.