There are an estimated 136,000 people living on conditions of modern slavery in the United Kingdom (Global Slavery Index 2018). 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. 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. 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.
Promise grew up in Nigeria. At 17 years old she was beaten after being caught having sexual relations with another woman who died as a result of her injuries. Promise went to her aunt’s house for protection, but ended up being sold as a sex worker. She fled to the UK where she was put in foster care, but later ran away and was forced into sex work by a man she thought would protect her.
If the man says he wants it without a condom you have to do it. You don’t have any choice. If a man decides that he wants to fuck you in the mouth you have to open your mouth for them to do it. You don’t have a choice.
LGBT people are not allowed there [Nigeria]. They see them as a witchcraft.
I was meant to be sacrificed to the gods to appease them for the crime I did, for loving a girl.
I never knew I was actually walking into more serious debt. He told me that he was going to give me a good education and make me a footballer because that was my dream.
He just woke me up and told me, ‘It’s time to pay me back the money I used to bring you to this country.’ When he actually took me to… I didn’t even know what prostitution was or sex slavery was, and then this woman came to me and told me some guys want me in the room. They were just naked staring at me like ‘Come on I’ve paid for it, come lie down.’ He didn’t even pay attention to me. He just lay me on the bed. One told me to suck him off, the other one told me ‘bring your back’, I was just like a pornstar. They don’t care if the man has diseases, the more they come the more you have to take them and if you don’t take them you wouldn’t even want to think about the beating you’ll receive so you just have to take the men. It’s endless. The number of men is endless. It was so horrible that I begged for death. And they won’t let you go even if you finish the payment, they will never let you go. But if you’ve got the courage you just have to run away, try to run. But if you are caught that is it, that is the end of your life.
Narrative provided by UNILAD