The UK National Crime Agency estimates 3,309 potential victims of human trafficking came into contact with the State or an NGO in 2014. The latest government statistics derived from the UK National Referral Mechanism in 2014 reveal 2,340 potential victims of trafficking from 96 countries of origin, of whom 61 percent were female and 29 percent were children. Of those identified through the NRM, the majority were adults classified as victims of sexual exploitation followed by adults exploited in the domestic service sector and other types of labour exploitation. The largest proportion of victims was from Albania, followed by Nigeria, Vietnam, Romania and Slovakia.
Crystal was trafficked to the UK from Trinidad into a situation of domestic servitude leaving four children in the West Indies. She endured an abusive marriage and was vulnerable to coercion and grooming. Crystal was trafficked for four years, sold to three families and worked at least 18 hours-a-day.
Hi. I was trafficked to the United Kingdom, over a decade. I left back home 4 children. Prior to that I want to just ask one question today. How many of you are parents? By a show of hands. Interesting.
When I left Trinidad and Tobago my children were, 13, 10, 7 and 4. It was, I had a domestic abusive marriage and it was quite hard. I think a lot of people think of trafficking if you’re an adult you can think for yourself, why do you stay in it? But it’s a vicious cycle. Unless you can understand what happens with grooming and with being coerced, you wouldn’t begin to understand what it’s all about. I was trafficked into a Christian family. And it’s amazing. What baffles me even today is that these people took me to church. I was trafficked for 4 years, I was sold to 3 different families, and I worked 18 hours a day, apart from Sundays when I went to church. As soon as we came back it went back on to the room. And it baffles me today that after my first visit after getting my asylum was to travel to Rome. So thank you for sharing this with me today.
What we look at is what are some of the things that I even blame myself a lot erm on why I was trafficked. Maybe if I had thought to be wiser, maybe if I didn’t put myself in that situation. Unfortunately for me a good friend befriended me. And this person worked as a recruiter for these traffickers in the United Kingdom. And unless we understand that these people are very organised with what they do, they are always a step ahead. I worked for people who were lawyers, I worked for people who had very high position in the church. And it has hit home that human trafficking has penetrated the church. It's not today, it's not yesterday, it's been going on for a long time.
I look at as well, the belief of having to tell my story to the police, not being believed. You know I went through a tremendous and traumatic time giving evidence with home office. I think of leaving my kids behind, not knowing what was happening to them. My 4-year-old was still a toddler. I mean I cried mercilessly days and nights. I worked, I slept on the kitchen floor and when I asked her a day, I said, why won't you let me go? She said I bought you, I paid money for you. And the only time you will leave is when I'm ready for you to leave.
This woman spent under £1000 for me. And when she was done she then sold me off to one of her friends. These people are very organised, they know what they're doing, and they are perpetrators. Because anyone that can look at another human being, and treat them in that manner, without an ounce of remorse, is truly evil.
And today I stand, giving you my testimony and why am I still doing this? Why do I come and leave Britain and come all the way to Italy? It's to have a voice for the voiceless, for people who are still enslaved. Victims, who don't have a voice. We are free here, we have an opportunity today to be a voice for them. After 5 years of going through with legal battles with Home Office, during that time I was really privileged, I had the support of a lot of groups, one of them being the Medal Trust, a Catholic organisation. They worked really hard with my case. The Helen Bamber foundation, these are names I have to highlight because these people are the silent heroes. They work on our behalf. They knock on the door with home office and say listen this is wrong, you can't treat people this way. And just say well okay you've been saved now, go back to your country. I had a lovely, lovely police officer, my first response. Mr DC West, that man knew what he was doing, and in spite of everything, I put all my credits to people who contributed to helping me get to where I am today. I'm a free woman. Two of my kids have relocated to the UK, they're living with me now. My last two boys erm, I'm living a new life.
But I take this up as missionary work. I take this sort of job that I do here today being an ambassador for other women, men, children, who are still enslaved. And I don't want to bore you anymore, but one thing I'll ask today is this: can we imagine o envision, being in a world where we don't have human trafficking, where we don't' have modern day slavery? I believe everyone here in this room has a sincere responsibility, a moral responsibility. And we've got to start in our own communities, in our own churches, in our family. Knowledge is power. Thank you very much.
As told in an address to the Santa Marta Group, 2016