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2020 (Narrative date)

The Global Slavery Index 2018 estimates that there are approximately 129,000 people living in conditions of modern slavery in France. France is a destination, transit and, to a lesser extent, source country for the exploitation of men, women and children in forced labour and sex trafficking. Labour traffickers exploit women and children in domestic servitude. Families often exploit relatives brought from Africa to work in their households. Domestic servitude makes up approximately eight percent of all trafficking in France.

Agnes was trafficked into domestic servitude from Ivory Coast to France at the age of 18. She arrived as an orphan to study but was forced to work long hours without pay or a contract.

I arrived in France through a lady. My brother introduced me to her. My brother said she would help me. I had lost my parents. My brother was still young and going to school, so he couldn't take care of me. The lady’s daughter came for a holiday and the lady introduced us. She said, ‘This is my daughter. She will take you with her. You’ll take care of her children and she’ll send you to school.’ I had just turned 18. All the time I was with her, I took care of her children, but she never kept her promise [about school]. I took care of the children, I bathed them, I cooked, I cleaned—everything... I never went out because I wasn’t allowed to. I couldn’t talk to people, even the neighbors. She didn’t pay me. One day, she said to me, ‘Get your things together, we’re going back to Abidjan.’ I didn’t want to go because she hadn’t helped me. Sending me back to Abidjan… There was no one there for me. For three years, I worked, took care of her children… And for three years, she did nothing. It’s really painful. Now I feel better, even though it’s hard, but I prefer this... I prefer this than to stay in such a situation.

Agnes managed to escape with the help of neighbors but does not wish to conceal her identity for security reasons.


Narrative source Youth Underground, a non-profit organization dedicated to preventing human trafficking through youth education, awareness-raising and advocacy.

The original narrative can be found here