He said we'd have a better life
"I was 15 when my parents were persuaded to sell me, so we could all have a better life. Someone in my family told my parents that I could earn a lot of money in England and send it back to them. But that's not what happened.
"When I arrived in England, I soon learned that nothing these people had told me was true. I was taken to a house and forced to have wrong sex with men, sometimes nine times in one day. There was no money, no hope and no life. These men made me do what they wanted by hurting me, which made me very afraid. I was lonely and very unhappy. One day I managed to escape and found a police station. I told the police everything that had happened. They listened to me and helped me. Now I am living a better life, but it is a long way from the good things I had been promised."
Sadly, there are many people like Candy. Every minute, one person is trafficked: this means, they are taken from one country to another, or to a new place in their own country. There they are badly treated and not given the work that they were promised. In some villages in the country of Belarus, there are few teenage girls, because they have all been taken to other countries to work in the sex trade. Families can be tricked into paying all the money they have saved, to get someone into a western country.
Anyone can be trafficked. We need to be very wise when planning to travel to another country to find work.
Be careful of:
- Anyone who seems to be friendly and offers an 'easy job with good pay'. They may not be telling the truth and force you to work for little or no money. If girls are offered jobs in bars or restaurants in another country, their real work will probably be selling their bodies for sex.
- Anyone who wants to take you to an employment agency or says they will find you a new job. They may be getting money for this, which you might have to pay back from what you earn. You could then be left with little or no money. Even if they give you real work in another country, it may be against the law of that country because you have no work permit, so the pay will be very small.
- Anyone who wants to keep your passport, work permit or ID card. You can become like a prisoner if you do not have these documents. Never let anyone keep your passport or these other papers.
- Anyone who offers you a free scholarship to a western country, often in newspaper adverts. Only government agencies, universities or large official organizations give scholarships. They do not advertise in newspapers. They will not ask for money from you to apply for a scholarship.
- If you are offered work or study in a different country, ask the embassy of that country for their advice. Most countries give very few work or study permits, and you can only get these from their government's embassy, so any other group who says they can get a permit for you may be lying.
- Learn as much as you can about any employer or agency. Does it have a bad reputation? What are the working conditions like? Is it a safe place? Do you know anyonewho has worked for the employer or agency, and was happy with their work?
- Ask what money you have to pay back for travel or other costs. Tell them to write everything down for you.
- Tell your family and friends the name, number and address of your employer, and stay in regular contact with them.
- If you are trafficked to another country, ask for help from police, STOP THE TRAFFIK or any help organization that can get you back to your own country and family.
STOP THE TRAFFIK is a worldwide group of people who are working to bring an end to the trafficking of people. Their website (written in many languages) can help you: www.stopthetraffik.org
UK: 0207 921 42 58
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