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.
Grace was trafficked from Nigeria to the UK into forced prostitution by a local woman who used the traditional African belief of Juju to threaten her. Eventually she escaped and told the police what happened but her trafficker and the woman that sold her fled the UK.
I believe there is Juju, it happens.
Before I left Nigeria, this woman took me to this village and I had to make a vow that I won’t run away when I come to England.
[I thought I was going to become] a cleaner.
They took the hair from my head, my armpit hair, my private parts hair and they took my nails. My toenails and fingernails and they kept it and they stripped me naked. And they gave me this thing to drink, like blood.
I don’t know what it is, it’s in a pot, they say you should drink it.
Yes, they cut me, I’ve got it on my chest. It’s on my head as well. Yes, a witchdoctor, a scary man.
He just said that if I saw anything about what happens here, to anybody, that I’m doing to die. They are going to send thunder. And when I see thunder, I’m getting better now, but before, when thunder starts I’m scared they’re coming.
I’ve seen counsellors and they tell me that they were the ones to deceive me to tell me I’m coming here to do cleaning. So they have already lied. So whatever Juju they did to me is not going to happen.
They deceived me, telling me I’m coming here to clean and they end up doing something else to me.
I won’t allow that. I have to speak out. All my life is sleeping, sleeping, sleeping with men like this.
Yes, they will. She knows people in England. So anywhere I am, they’re going to look for me.
I’m not going to say nothing. I’m just going to kill her. That’s what I’ll do, because she destroyed my life. I’m going to kill her because she ruined my life. She made me something I didn’t plan to be.
Any girls that you hear they want to take you to go cleaning, don’t go. It’s all trafick and you’re going to suffer.
They’ve destroyed too many lives. Too many. You have to stop them, put them in jail forever, not to come out.
I hate them.
Narrative as told to Ross Kemp for the series Ross Kemp Extreme World. All credit given.