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Miracle

There are an estimated 10,000 people living in modern slavery in Lebanon (GSI 2018). Men, women, and children among the estimated 1.3 million Syrian refugees in Lebanon are at high risk of sex trafficking and forced labour. There are some restrictions on Syrians’ ability to work legally in Lebanon and the enforcement of visas and residence permit laws increase this population’s vulnerability to trafficking. Syrians are commonly involved in the exploitation of other Syrians in Lebanon, particularly targeting refugees fleeing the conflict. Syrian children are reportedly vulnerable to forced early marriages—which can lead to commercial sexual exploitation and forced labour—and children displaced within the country continue to be subjected to forced labour, particularly by organized begging rings.   Miracle left Nigeria after meeting someone who promised to help her find a job in Europe. On the way she found out she was pregnant and her smuggler attempted to force her to abort the pregnancy. When she arrived in Libya, Miracle and the other girls were locked up and sold to a Madam to be forced into prostitution. However, because Miracle was pregnant, she could not be sold. She spent two months locked inside a room before being taken to boat to cross over to Europe. When she arrived in Europe, she found that she had been deceived by promises of work.   

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Nora

There are an estimated 145,000 people liing in conditions of modern slavery in Italy (GSI 2018). Italy is a destination, transit, and source country for women, children, and men subjected to sex trafficking and forced labour. Victims originate from Nigeria, Romania, Morocco, China, and other countries. Female victims are often subjected to sex trafficking in Italy after accepting promises of employment as dancers, singers, models, restaurant servers, or caregivers. Romanian and Albanian criminal groups force Eastern European women and girls into commercial sex.  Nora’s family was poor and constantly worrying how to make ends meet. One day she met a woman who told her she could arrange a job for her abroad in Europe. Nora thought this was an opportunity to support her family and agreed. Before leaving Nigeria, she and others were required to go through a voodoo ceremony and swear an oath to pay back the woman for travel costs. The route went through Niger and Libya, as soon as they left Nigeria, the woman’s attitude changed. Nora and the other women she travelled with were trafficked into prostitution and forced to work in brothels along their journey in Niger, Libya, and Italy.  

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Rita

There are an estimated 145,000 people liing in conditions of modern slavery in Italy (GSI 2018). Italy is a destination, transit, and source country for women, children, and men subjected to sex trafficking and forced labour. Victims originate from Nigeria, Romania, Morocco, China, and other countries. Female victims are often subjected to sex trafficking in Italy after accepting promises of employment as dancers, singers, models, restaurant servers, or caregivers. Romanian and Albanian criminal groups force Eastern European women and girls into commercial sex.   Rita was homeless when she was approached by a woman who asked her if she would like to travel and promised to take her to Europe where she could work in her supermarket. Before she left, the woman told Rita the travel costs and made her undergo a voodoo ceremony and swear an oath that she would pay back the money for the journey. As the woman accompanied Rita on the journey from Nigeria through Libya, her attitude began to change. Rita was beaten, abused, and raped by men along the way but the woman did not intervene or protect her. The journey was traumatising, and she saw many people die on the way. Once she arrived in Florence, instead of the supermarket work she was promised, Rita was forced to work as a prostitute in a brothel to pay back the money she owed. After three months of being locked up in the brothel, she escaped and is now in Germany, but she is still being threatened by the Madam in Italy. 

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Shola

There is an estimated 48,000 people living in modern slavery in Libya (GSI 2018). Libya is a major transit destination for migrants and refugees hoping to reach Europe by sea. Human trafficking networks have prospered amid lawlessness, created by the warring militias that have been fighting for control of territories since the toppling of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. Highly organized trafficking and migrants smuggling networks that reach into Libya from Niger, Nigeria, Chad, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan, and other sub-Saharan states subject migrants to forced labor and forced prostitution through fraudulent recruitment, confiscation of identity and travel documents, withholding or non-payment of wages, debt bondage, and verbal, physical, and sexual abuse. In some cases, migrants reportedly pay smuggling fees to reach Tripoli, but once they cross the Libyan border they are sometimes abandoned in southern cities or the desert where they are susceptible to severe forms of abuse and human trafficking.   Shola was unhappy with her life in Nigeria. She wanted to study and get a job, but when she finished secondary school, her family expected her to marry, have children, and be a housewife. She decided to go to Europe to realize her plans. A woman promised to take her there, and she departed with a group of girls, taking the Libya route. Once in Libya, Shola and the other girls were told they would have to work before they crossed. They were forced into prostitution and were beaten if they refused. Shola and some others escaped from their sexual exploitation with the help of a man, but while living with him they were put to work in other people’s homes. 

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Vanessa

There is an estimated 48,000 people living in modern slavery in Libya (GSI 2018). Libya is a major transit destination for migrants and refugees hoping to reach Europe by sea. Human trafficking networks have prospered amid lawlessness, created by the warring militias that have been fighting for control of territories since the toppling of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. Highly organized trafficking and migrants smuggling networks that reach into Libya from Niger, Nigeria, Chad, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan, and other sub-Saharan states subject migrants to forced labor and forced prostitution through fraudulent recruitment, confiscation of identity and travel documents, withholding or non-payment of wages, debt bondage, and verbal, physical, and sexual abuse. In some cases, migrants reportedly pay smuggling fees to reach Tripoli, but once they cross the Libyan border they are sometimes abandoned in southern cities or the desert where they are susceptible to severe forms of abuse and human trafficking.  In Nigeria, Vanessa struggled to house and feed herself and her three children after being thrown out of their home by her abusive husband. She worked as a hawker, selling fruit, and as a hairdresser, but worried constantly about money. Then a friend mentioned a sister in Italy with a hairdressing salon and recommended Vanessa to work there. She was told it would be an easy journey through Libya, however after arriving in Tripoli, Vanessa and her fellow travellers were housed in a smuggler’s compound when a fight broke out among neighbourhood gangs. During this time, her baby developed a fever and became critically ill, dying shortly afterward. She set off from Tripoli on a smuggler’s boat headed for Italy, but the boat was captured by bandits who took them back to Libya and held the passengers for ransom.  Vanessa’s friend's sister in Italy paid for her release, but she was unable to make it to Italy. When she tried for a second time, she was caught by the Libyan Coast Guard, brought back, and imprisoned. A Ghanaian man bailed her out of prison only to sell her to a brothel where she had to work as a prostitute to pay off her debt. 

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Vera

There is an estimated 48,000 people living in modern slavery in Libya (GSI 2018). Libya is a major transit destination for migrants and refugees hoping to reach Europe by sea. Human trafficking networks have prospered amid lawlessness, created by the warring militias that have been fighting for control of territories since the toppling of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. Highly organized trafficking and migrants smuggling networks that reach into Libya from Niger, Nigeria, Chad, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan, and other sub-Saharan states subject migrants to forced labor and forced prostitution through fraudulent recruitment, confiscation of identity and travel documents, withholding or non-payment of wages, debt bondage, and verbal, physical, and sexual abuse. In some cases, migrants reportedly pay smuggling fees to reach Tripoli, but once they cross the Libyan border they are sometimes abandoned in southern cities or the desert where they are susceptible to severe forms of abuse and human trafficking.  At her school in Nigeria, Vera and her brother were being threatened by gangsters. The situation became dangerous, and her mother was very worried about her security. Vera felt she had no other option than to flee from the country. She contacted a smuggler who would take her to Europe via Libya. She was surprised when the woman frankly suggested that she could earn money both in Libya and in Europe as a prostitute. Vera said she would not do such a thing, and the woman did not press the issue. When they arrived in Libya, she called her and told her that now, she must work as a prostitute to pay her debt. 

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Caroline

There is an estimated 48,000 people living in modern slavery in Libya (GSI 2018). Libya is a major transit destination for migrants and refugees hoping to reach Europe by sea. Human trafficking networks have prospered amid lawlessness, created by the warring militias that have been fighting for control of territories since the toppling of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. Highly organized trafficking and migrants smuggling networks that reach into Libya from Niger, Nigeria, Chad, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan, and other sub-Saharan states subject migrants to forced labor and forced prostitution through fraudulent recruitment, confiscation of identity and travel documents, withholding or non-payment of wages, debt bondage, and verbal, physical, and sexual abuse. In some cases, migrants reportedly pay smuggling fees to reach Tripoli, but once they cross the Libyan border they are sometimes abandoned in southern cities or the desert where they are susceptible to severe forms of abuse and human trafficking. Caroline thought she was travelling to Europe with her boyfriend, but he sold her to a woman who took her to Libya and sold her on again to another man. She was taken to Tripoli and forced into prostitution. After Caroline escaped prostitution, she went to live in a residential house. But this house was raided and she was put in a prison where she was subjected to physical and sexual abuse daily. She was finally able to escape the prison by jumping a fence and found herself at a place where people were getting on a boat to Italy. She joined them, but the journey was not easy.

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Y

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. Y was trafficked from Nigeria to the United Kingdom at five years old. She was forced to clean, prevented from leaving the house or going to school and made to look after the family’s baby. Y was physically, emotionally and mentally abused by the family that had bought her. When she was 11, the family moved back to Nigeria and sold Y to their friend. She remained in the UK and was forced to work long hours doing housework. When she was 14, she was also forced to make cakes for the woman to sell and make money. She finally ran away and went to live with a foster family while the police and social services worked on her case. 

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Grace

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.

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Melody

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. Melody was brought from Nigeria to the UK by a family friend at 12 years old. Upon arrival she was taken to a woman’s house where she was forced to clean every day for long hours under constant verbal abuse. This woman started bringing men to the house to sexually abuse Melody. Melody was kicked out of the house one day when she refused to sleep with one of the men the woman had brought to her. She spent months homeless on the street where she was subjected to further sexual violence. She was finally able to leave her situation with the help of an advisor from Refugee Council.

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Abebi

There is an estimated 48,000 people living in modern slavery in Libya (GSI 2018). Libya is a major transit destination for migrants and refugees hoping to reach Europe by sea. Human trafficking networks have prospered amid lawlessness, created by the warring militias that have been fighting for control of territories since the toppling of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. Highly organized trafficking and migrants smuggling networks that reach into Libya from Niger, Nigeria, Chad, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan, and other sub-Saharan states subject migrants to forced labor and forced prostitution through fraudulent recruitment, confiscation of identity and travel documents, withholding or non-payment of wages, debt bondage, and verbal, physical, and sexual abuse. In some cases, migrants reportedly pay smuggling fees to reach Tripoli, but once they cross the Libyan border they are sometimes abandoned in southern cities or the desert where they are susceptible to severe forms of abuse and human trafficking. Abebi*, a small business owner, was in need of more income after the death of her husband. She was targeted by a woman and told she could travel to Egypt to buy goods for her shop. Abebi paid the woman for a passport and ticket to Egypt, however she found herself in Libya where she was sold into domestic servitude.

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Chidi

There is an estimated 48,000 people living in modern slavery in Libya (GSI 2018). Libya is a major transit destination for migrants and refugees hoping to reach Europe by sea. Human trafficking networks have prospered amid lawlessness, created by the warring militias that have been fighting for control of territories since the toppling of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. Highly organized trafficking and migrants smuggling networks that reach into Libya from Niger, Nigeria, Chad, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan, and other sub-Saharan states subject migrants to forced labor and forced prostitution through fraudulent recruitment, confiscation of identity and travel documents, withholding or non-payment of wages, debt bondage, and verbal, physical, and sexual abuse. In some cases, migrants reportedly pay smuggling fees to reach Tripoli, but once they cross the Libyan border they are sometimes abandoned in southern cities or the desert where they are susceptible to severe forms of abuse and human trafficking. Chidi was trafficked in Libya on his way to France. When his friend failed to pay the $3,000 fee to smugglers, he was locked up and tortured. Though his family took out loans to pay of his 'debt', he was later kidnapped and imprisoned once again. Chidi received support from Programme X including counselling, financial assistance and business skills training. He went on to set up a retail unit selling women’s accessories.

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Esosa

There are an estimated 1,386,000 people living in modern slavery in Nigeria (GSI 2018). Nigeria is a source, transit, and destination country for women and children subjected to forced labour and sex trafficking, and a source country for men subjected to forced labour. Women and girls are victims of forced labour in domestic service both within the country as well as being trafficked to other West and Central African countries.  Esosa experienced trafficking and domestic servitude in Nigeria. She was then able to return to school and went on to study theatre arts at university. She is now a professional dancer and performer. Esosa supports anti-trafficking efforts in her community, including through NGO Y, by choreographing performances to raise awareness of the dangers of irregular migration.

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Amenze

There is an estimated 48,000 people living in modern slavery in Libya (GSI 2018). Libya is a major transit destination for migrants and refugees hoping to reach Europe by sea. Human trafficking networks have prospered amid lawlessness, created by the warring militias that have been fighting for control of territories since the toppling of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. Highly organized trafficking and migrants smuggling networks that reach into Libya from Niger, Nigeria, Chad, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan, and other sub-Saharan states subject migrants to forced labour and forced prostitution through fraudulent recruitment, confiscation of identity and travel documents, withholding or non-payment of wages, debt bondage, and verbal, physical, and sexual abuse. In some cases, migrants reportedly pay smuggling fees to reach Tripoli, but once they cross the Libyan border they are sometimes abandoned in southern cities or the desert where they are susceptible to severe forms of abuse and human trafficking. Amenze is a survivor of trafficking to Libya. She received support from Programme X including a flight to voluntarily return to Nigeria, counselling, financial assistance and business skills training. With the support of NGO Y, Amenze learned how to be a seamstress, and is currently working as a fashion designer.

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Adaku

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. Adaku, A 20-year old woman was abducted in May 2013 when she ran into a roadblock mounted by insurgents at Firgi, near Bama.

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Princess

Italy is a destination, transit, and source country for women, children, and men subjected to sex trafficking and forced labour. Victims originate from Nigeria, Romania, Morocco, China, and other countries. Female victims are often subjected to sex trafficking in Italy after accepting promises of employment as dancers, singers, models, restaurant servers, or caregivers. Romanian and Albanian criminal groups force Eastern European women and girls into commercial sex.  Princess, a mother of four children and a grandmother of two, was a cook in a traditional restaurant in Akwa Ibom State in Nigeria. In 1999 she was approached by a woman who visited the restaurant and promised her a job as a cook in Italy. She was invited to a luxury hotel in Benin City – the capital of Edo State in southern Nigeria.  Unfortunately, the life-changing opportunity on offer was anything but. The Italian woman was a Madam from Turin and, having brought Princess into the country, sold her into prostitution and told her she would have to repay $45,000. 

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Joy

There are an estimated 1,386,000 people living in modern slavery in Nigeria (GSI 2018). Nigeria is a source, transit, and destination country for women and children subjected to forced labour and sex trafficking, and a source country for men subjected to forced labour. Nigerian women and girls are subjected to sex trafficking within Nigeria and throughout Europe, including in Italy, Spain, Austria, and Russia; an international organization estimated 80 percent of all female Nigerian migrants in Italy are or will become sex trafficking victims. In 2015, a foreign government reported that with the exception of internal trafficking within the EU, Nigerian nationals are the most common trafficking victims in the EU. One local press report noted that traffickers recruit women and girls from IDP camps in Northeast Nigeria for ostensibly legitimate jobs in Italy but exploit them in prostitution in Italy. While some sex trafficking victims arrive in Europe believing they will be working in prostitution, traffickers coerce them to stay in prostitution by changing the working conditions and increasing victims’ travel debts.  17-year-old Joy* was trafficked from Nigeria and forced into prostitution in Italy. She undertook a dangerous journey to get there in the belief that she was going to be working as a stylist. Upon arrival, she was told she had to become a prostitute in order to pay back her trafficker 20,000 euros for the fare. She was eventually helped by an organisation that helps victims of trafficking.

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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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Grace

There are an estimated 1,386,000 people living in modern slavery in Nigeria (GSI 2018). Nigeria is a source, transit, and destination country for women and children subjected to forced labour and sex trafficking, and a source country for men subjected to forced labour. Nigerian women and girls are subjected to sex trafficking within Nigeria and throughout Europe, including in Italy, Spain, Austria, and Russia. In 2015, a foreign government reported that with the exception of internal trafficking within the EU, Nigerian nationals are the most common trafficking victims in the EU. Before departure for work abroad, many Nigerian women participate in a traditional ceremony with a juju priest; some traffickers exploit this tradition and tell the women they must obey their traffickers or a curse will harm them, which prevents victims from seeking assistance or cooperating with law enforcement. While some sex trafficking victims arrive in Europe believing they will be working in prostitution, traffickers coerce them to stay in prostitution by changing the working conditions and increasing victims’ travel debts.  Grace* was promised work as a cleaner in the UK by a local businesswoman who trafficked her and forced her into prostitution.

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Hada

There are an estimated 58,000 people living in conditions of modern slavery in Benin (GSI 2018). The country is an origin, transit and destination country for women and children subjected to trafficking in persons, primarily for forced labour and sex trafficking. Trafficking victims most often come from low-income families, and frequently lack formal education or basic identity documents including birth certificates and national identification. Internal trafficking primarily draws children from rural areas in the north to the urban south of Benin in search of economic opportunity. Children from Benin who are subjected to trafficking externally are transported to West and Central African countries. Some parents send children to wealthier families for educational or vocational opportunities; a practice called vidomegon. Some of these children are subjected to domestic servitude. Children from neighboring countries are forced to labor on farms, in commercial agriculture (particularly in the cotton sector), in artisanal mines, at construction sites, or as street or market vendors in Benin.  Hada is from the prefecture of Blitta. He is typical of many boys who go with traffickers without the knowledge of their parents and end up in the plantations of Benin where they perform long hours of difficult, hazardous and unpaid labour.