Human trafficking is the horrific exploitation of vulnerable men women and children - robbing them of their freedom, dignity, self-worth, potential and hope. There are multiple resources available in order to be informed of the statistical magnitude of this evil. Sadly, it is this magnitude that blinds us to the reality that each of those statistics represents a person.
We have chosen to help make you aware of the individual. The following is the story of one girl we have had the privilege of supporting and caring for:
It started with my youngest boy having allergies and asthma. He started with this illness at six months old. It was thought that he could die, so I needed money for his treatments.
A man gave me money for the treatment (over some years) because my family wasn't wealthy. Then he came to me and said he wanted the money returned. I said I could only pay it back bit by bit as I wasn't working. He was not happy with this repayment plan because he said it was hard for him.
He offered me a job to pay it back. When I asked what was the job he said stealing or prostitution. I said I have never stolen before and I am not good at this. It is not possible to be a prostitute either. The man said there is no other choice: Its stealing or prostitution. He took me to a woman in my country to teach me how to steal but she said I wasn't very good because I said I did not like doing it. The woman said to the man that she doesn't like to work with me because I do not do anything she says to me.
This is when I discovered that the man controlled girls for stealing, prostitution and drugs. He had lots of girls and he moved them around to many countries. He was part of a much larger gang.
He beat me up and I was in hospital with injuries for perhaps two days. He made it clear that this what would happen to me and my family if I did not do what he told me.
He then said I was to come to Northern Ireland and he bought me a ticket from my country to Dublin. I was met in Dublin Airport by a girl I knew from home. We then travelled to Belfast together by bus. I was in Belfast staying in a hostel for about three weeks, having to steal every day. For this three weeks the other girl was showing me around Belfast as I did not speak the language. This girl bought everything and took charge of everything. At this time I was so scared as I didn't know what the man was doing to my children as he said he would hurt them.
She has now returned to home country and been reunited with her family.