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Udumeule

There are an estimated 1,386,000 people living in modern slavery in Nigeria (GSI 2018). Since 2009, Nigeria’s homegrown Islamist insurgent movement, Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati wal-Jihad, popularly known as Boko Haram, which means “Western Education is Forbidden,” has waged a violent campaign against the Nigerian government in its bid to impose Islamic law. The attacks have increasingly targeted civilians, mainly in the northeastern states of Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa. Borno State, the birthplace of Boko Haram, has suffered the highest number of attacks. A range of issues, including widespread poverty, corruption, security force abuse, and longstanding impunity for a range of crimes have created fertile ground in Nigeria for militant armed groups like Boko Haram. In some cases, women and children are abducted from predominantly Christian areas and forced to convert to Islam. Where forced conversion did not lead to the release of abductees, it usually led to forced marriage to members of Boko Haram. Udumeule* was 15-years-old when she gave the narrative.

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Anwuli

There are an estimated 1,386,000 people living in modern slavery in Nigeria (GSI 2018). Since 2009, Nigeria’s homegrown Islamist insurgent movement, Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati wal-Jihad, popularly known as Boko Haram, which means “Western Education is Forbidden,” has waged a violent campaign against the Nigerian government in its bid to impose Islamic law. The attacks have increasingly targeted civilians, mainly in the northeastern states of Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa. Borno State, the birthplace of Boko Haram, has suffered the highest number of attacks. A range of issues, including widespread poverty, corruption, security force abuse, and longstanding impunity for a range of crimes have created fertile ground in Nigeria for militant armed groups like Boko Haram.In some cases, women and children are abducted from predominantly Christian areas and forced to convert to Islam. These abductions took place most often in Boko Haram’s then-strongholds of Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, or Damaturu, the capital of neighboring Yobe State. In most of the documented cases, married women were abducted as punishment for not supporting the group’s ideology, while unmarried women and girls were taken as brides after insurgents hastily offered a dowry to the families, who feared to resist. 19-year-old Anwuli* and one other woman were raped after having been abducted with four other women in April 2014.

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Ifunanya

There are an estimated 1,386,000 people living in modern slavery in Nigeria (GSI 2018). Since 2009, Nigeria’s homegrown Islamist insurgent movement, Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati wal-Jihad, popularly known as Boko Haram, which means “Western Education is Forbidden,” has waged a violent campaign against the Nigerian government in its bid to impose Islamic law. The attacks have increasingly targeted civilians, mainly in the northeastern states of Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa. Borno State, the birthplace of Boko Haram, has suffered the highest number of attacks. A range of issues, including widespread poverty, corruption, security force abuse, and longstanding impunity for a range of crimes have created fertile ground in Nigeria for militant armed groups like Boko Haram.In some cases, women and children are abducted from predominantly Christian areas and forced to convert to Islam. These abductions took place most often in Boko Haram’s then-strongholds of Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, or Damaturu, the capital of neighboring Yobe State. In most of the documented cases, married women were abducted as punishment for not supporting the group’s ideology, while unmarried women and girls were taken as brides after insurgents hastily offered a dowry to the families, who feared to resist. Ifunanya* was abducted in 2013 and spent four weeks with Boko Haram. 

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Yejide

There are an estimated 1,386,000 people living in modern slavery in Nigeria (GSI 2018). Since 2009, Nigeria’s homegrown Islamist insurgent movement, Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati wal-Jihad, popularly known as Boko Haram, which means “Western Education is Forbidden,” has waged a violent campaign against the Nigerian government in its bid to impose Islamic law. The attacks have increasingly targeted civilians, mainly in the northeastern states of Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa. Borno State, the birthplace of Boko Haram, has suffered the highest number of attacks. A range of issues, including widespread poverty, corruption, security force abuse, and longstanding impunity for a range of crimes have created fertile ground in Nigeria for militant armed groups like Boko Haram.In some cases, women and children are abducted from predominantly Christian areas and forced to convert to Islam. These abductions took place most often in Boko Haram’s then-strongholds of Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, or Damaturu, the capital of neighboring Yobe State. In most of the documented cases, married women were abducted as punishment for not supporting the group’s ideology, while unmarried women and girls were taken as brides after insurgents hastily offered a dowry to the families, who feared to resist. 18-year-old Yejide* was not yet married when a Boko Haram combatant sexually abused her when she went to use the bathroom.

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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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Anna C

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.   Anna was living in Albania when she ran away with her boyfriend to escape an arranged marriage. She travelled to Kosovo where she thought she would build a life with the man she loved. However, instead Anna was forced in to a room, locked up and was repeatedly raped by up to ten men a day. Anna was moved from place to place, never knowing where she was. She was finally able to escape while in England and was referred to Hestia. 

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Promise

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.   Promise grew up in Nigeria. When she was 17 years old, she was caught having sexual relations with another girl. She, along with her partner, were dragged outside and beaten. Her partner did not survive. After two days a friend helped her escape and she ran to her aunt’s house for help. Promise was told to meet a family friend in Port Harcourt. She was flown to the UK and upon arrival was stopped and held by immigration. As she was underage she was placed in foster care. However, Promise ran away to meet the man her aunt had told her would be able to help her achieve her dream of becoming a footballer. However Promise had no idea that her aunt had sold her into prostitution.

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Benita Furaha

There are an estimated 1,045,000 people living in conditions of modern slavery in the Democratic Republic of Congo (GSI 2018). Worsening political and economic conditions throughout the country have exacerbated already high levels of instability, insecurity, and political tension and rendered populations more vulnerable to trafficking. Some men, women, and children working in artisanal mines in eastern DRC are subjected to forced labor, including debt bondage, by mining bosses, other miners, family members, government officials, and armed groups. Some children are subjected to forced labor in the illegal mining of diamonds, copper, gold, cobalt, tungsten ore, tantalum ore, and tin, as well as the smuggling of minerals. Benita’s parents died when she was 13 years old. Her older brother threatened to starve her or to send her out of the house if she couldn’t contribute to household expenses. Benita went to work in the mines where she was subjected to long hours for little pay and subjected to sexual violence. In 2012 Benita met community workers from Free the Slaves who helped her leave her situation.  She has now mastered dress making skills and become a good seamstress that enables her to make an honest living

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Gilberto

Brazil is a source country for men and boys trafficked internally for forced labor which accounts for most instances of modern slavery in Brazil. It is particularly prevalent in manual labour sectors such as construction, manufacturing, factory and domestic work and occurs in rural and urban areas, mainly through debt bondage schemes. In rural areas workers are immobilised in estates until they can pay off debts often fraudulently incurred; their identity documents and work permits are frequently retained; they are often physically threatened and punished by armed guards and some have been killed while attempting to flee. Debt bondage involves abusive labour contracting schemes operated by contractors known locally as empreiteiros or gatos, often engaged in other types of seasonal labour contracts.   Gilberto went looking for work when he was recruited to work in a forest cutting trees. Forced to work long hours with little food and pay, Gilberto tried to leave his situation but was told by the gato that recruited him that he owed him money for the tools, food and transport and had to pay off his debt before he could leave. After five months of malnutrition and witnessing the sexual abuse of young boys, Gilberto ran away.  

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Anna B

The UK National Crime Agency estimates 3,309 potential victims of human trafficking came into contact with the State or an NGO in 2014. The latest government statistics derived from the UK National Referral Mechanism in 2014 reveal 2,340 potential victims of trafficking from 96 countries of origin, of whom 61 percent were female and 29 percent were children. Of those identified through the NRM, the majority were adults classified as victims of sexual exploitation followed by adults exploited in the domestic service sector and other types of labour exploitation. The largest proportion of victims was from Albania, followed by Nigeria, Vietnam, Romania and Slovakia.  Anna was out with friends in Hungary when she was offered a job at a restaurant in Northern Ireland. Ready for a fresh start Anna travelled to Belfast where she was taken to a flat. However, after a few days Anna’s passport was taken and she was forced to work as a prostitute. Moved every couple of weeks Anna was afraid to escape as her trafficker had threatened the lives of her family if she did. 

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Arti L.

The United Arab Emirates is a destination for men and women predominantly from South and Southeast Asia, trafficked for the purposes of labour and commercial sexual exploitation. Migrant workers make up over 90 per cent of the UAE’s private sector workforce and are recruited from India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, China, and the Philippines. Though some travel willingly, they are subjected to conditions of modern slavery including withholding of passports, non-payment of wages, restrictions of movement and threats of physical and sexual abuse. Trafficking of domestic workers is facilitated by the fact that normal protections for workers under UAE labour laws do not apply to domestic workers, leaving them more vulnerable to abuse. Arti L. travelled from Indonesia and gained work as a domestic worker in the United Arab Emirates. Arti L. was subjected to physical and sexual abuse frequently and was raped by her male employer in July 2013 when he took her to clean a second house he had purchased. Arti L. managed to escape several days after this incident and attempted to file charges against her employer.

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Ope

There are an estimated 11,700 people living in modern slavery in the United Kingdom. It remains a destination for men, women and children from countries across the world including Asia, Africa and Eastern Europe, often seeking opportunities for a better livelihood. The latest government statistics derived from the UK National Referral Mechanism in 2014 reveal 2,340 potential victims of trafficking from 96 countries of origin, of whom 61 percent were female and 29 percent were children. Of those identified through the NRM, the majority were adults classified as victims of sexual exploitation followed by adults exploited in the domestic service sector and other types of labour exploitation. The largest proportion of victims was from Albania, followed by Nigeria, Vietnam, Romania and Slovakia. In 2005 Ope met a man offering to help her leave her life in Nigeria and find employment and a better life abroad. Promised work as a nanny or in a factory, Ope was taken by boat to Tenerife and then flown to mainland Spain where her trafficker was waiting for her at the airport. It was then that she found out she had been trafficked in to prostitution. After being physically and sexually abused in Spain, Ope was later trafficked again to the UK where the abuse continued. Ope was finally able to escape one day when she used money and ID from a wallet found at a market to get a bus to Kings Cross station in London.

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Siti

Foreign workers constitute more than 20 percent of the Malaysian workforce and typically migrate voluntarily—often illegally—to Malaysia from Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Burma, Indonesia, the Philippines, and other Southeast Asian countries, mostly in pursuit of better economic opportunities. Some of these migrants are subjected to forced labour or debt bondage by their employers, employment agents, or informal labour recruiters when they are unable to pay the fees for recruitment and associated travel. Siti was 14 years old when her last remaining relative passed away and she needed to earn money. She was approached by a woman who told her she could get her factory work in Malaysia. However, upon arrival in Malaysia Siti was forced to work long hours in various homes doing domestic work. In the five years she was enslaved, Siti did not earn any money and was subjected to physical and sexual abuse. Following a tip off, Siti was finally rescued during a raid operation.

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Oksana

Forced labour accounts for 98 percent of cases of modern slavery in Russia. Made up of both Russian and foreign workers, particularly from Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan and Kyrgyzstan, these people are enslaved in the agricultural and construction sectors, in factories, private homes, forestry, automotive and fishing industries. Russia also stands as the second largest migrant receiving country in the world, and remains one of the top 5 destinations for Ukrainians seeking work. These migrant workers often rely on underground networks and intermediaries, not knowing exactly what work they are committing to. Increased unemployment, poverty and demands for cheap labour among Russian citizens, along with the flow of cross-border migration has created new pockets of vulnerability and opportunities for labour exploitation in the country. Under pressure to make loan repayments, Oksana travelled from Ukraine with a friend to work at a wholesale market. After poor safety conditions led the women to request to be moved, they were taken to an abandoned stock base and ushered in to a small room filled with wooden pallets and dirty mattresses. Subjected to long-working hours and nightly sexual abuses, Oksana along with others eventually escaped, hitchhiking back to Ukraine.  

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Marina

In Russia it is estimated that thousands of women and children are subjected to commercial sexual exploitation and sex trafficking in prostitution and pornography. Women are lured by the promise of lucrative employment and a new location, travelling to the country under the pretence of legitimate employment and a better life. However when they arrive, they are forced into prostitution in brothels, hotels and saunas. There is also evidence of traffickers advertising sexual services of children online. However, despite the evidence of sex trafficking in Russia, it remains an under-recognised area of enslavement in the country. Recently split from her husband and in need of money Marina replied to a newspaper advertisement for a seamstress in Moscow. It was upon meeting her employer that Marina was transported to a house underground along with six other women, and informed that she was now enslaved as a sex worker. Forced to live in unhygienic conditions and required to submit to any clientele request or face physical violence, Marina was only able to escape when she was declared ‘unfit’ to work.