A great number of women and children are trafficked into the UK for exploitation as prostitutes, child labour or as domestic slaves. This was the fate of a 24-year-old woman who was offered a job and asked to leave her life in Nigeria to work abroad, reported BBC news.
Ope (24), whose real identity cannot be revealed for her protection, met a man in 2005 who offered her a job as a nanny or a factory worker. She did not realize she would be forced into prostitution. Ope was taken on a treacherous four day-trip by boat to Spain where she had to work on the streets before reaching the UK.
April 13 th, 2015
Treated like a slave
In her testimony, the victim said she was transferred to the UK by her traffickers and was treated like a slave. “I was like a slave”, Ope says.
One day, when she was permitted to fetch food in the market, she found a lost wallet with personal identification inside. She then took money from her traffickers and decided to run away.
Ope boarded a train at King’s Cross St Pancras in London and was later arrested by the immigration police for not having a visa. She was sent to a prison in Holloway where she received help from the Poppy Project charity group, an organisation that works with human trafficking victims.
Ope was later recognised as a victim of human trafficking. The court discarded all criminal charges against her. She could be deported to her home country but still fears being trafficked again.
Facts on human trafficking
Human trafficking is the second largest profit-making crime in the world. Statistics reveal that approximately 27 million people are enslaved today. Most of the victims are children, teenagers, young women and job seekers. They are deceived by traffickers who trick them into believing they can work or study somewhere else. Traffickers make all the arrangements and hold the travelling documents so victims have no choice but to obey their will.
Human trafficking in SA
Human trafficking is a real issue in South Africa. SA is reported to be a source, transit and destination country for human trafficking victims. Women and children are largely trafficked from poor rural areas to urban for sexual exploitation and domestic servitude. There also have been several cases in many provinces, such as KZN, where girls from other countries like Mozambique and Thailand are enticed by the mistaken belief that they will earn more money in South Africa. As they come here, they have to repay back their traffickers and work on their own. Report suspected cases of sex-trafficking on 0800 555 999 (toll free).
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