The Global Slavery Index 2018 estimates that on any given day in 2016, an estimated 3.6 million men, women and children were living in modern slavery in Europe and Central Asia. People are subjected to exploitation in forced labour, debt bondage and forced sexual exploitation. Government response in Europe is particularly strong with a number of regional bodies holding them account and monitoring responses, and while countries in Central Asia have taken steps to tack modern slavery, more needs to be done.
Elena and her family were struggling to get by, being forced to steal food to have something to eat, when she was offered a way for her family to be taken care of and find work. However, instead of a job, F and her family were forced to beg for their recruiters. Though F tried to escape, she was caught by the traffickers and threatened with her life if she tried to leave again.
I used to work on a daily basis, in the village, whenever I could find work.
We (the entire family) used to steal from people’s yards, mainly corn.
During this entire time they [the traffickers] invited me to their place, telling me that they care for me as if I were their daughter…
Once I was beaten by C [the trafficker’s wife] and my children were beaten and taken by the trafficker... at a certain moment I learnt that the trafficker was planning to rape me in front of my husband and to make me practice prostitution. That is when I decided, based on fear, to run with my children. But, with my husband’s help, who had no idea why I have left, I was caught by the traffickers. They took the younger children and I was threatened with death if I left without telling them.
Narrative F33 provided by National Agency Against Trafficking in Persons