I needed to earn enough money for my daughter for her school, and I was told about a good job in England. We were picked up and driven to a port; we went on a ferry to England. When we arrived they said we were going to work for good money, so we worked very hard, for long hours, to finish the job well.
But when we finished, we never got paid. Instead we were locked up.
They forced us to do more work. They would beat us and threaten us if we didn’t finish the work. We couldn’t go anywhere because they took our passports, ID and money. I felt hopeless, totally powerless. We would fix up houses, do gardening; I had to move heavy things that I could not even lift. I had to work from early morning until very late, 7 days a week. All we were given was some tobacco, alcohol, bread and butter for the week, that’s how we lived.
At this time, I knew I was a slave.
I felt very sick, hungry and tired all the time. I was sold, from person to person, bartered for right in front of my face. I heard one man say I wasn’t even worth £300. I felt worthless. Like rubbish on the floor.
I finally decided I would rather be killed trying to escape than stay.
I knew one man who lived a long way away. I had no money or transport so I had to walk as fast as I could or they would catch me. My legs are bad because they beat me but I had to keep going. I walked for 10 days with no stopping. I walked about 200 miles, but I was very scared.
Look! These are the shoes I found, they are the wrong size but they are all I had!
When I was walking all I could think about was [the traffickers]. They are chasing me, they will find me. I was very worried. I thought of my daughter too. I had let her down so much. I felt shameful. I was very cold, hungry and alone.
Eventually I reached the city of my friend, but had no way to find him. I knew this was the end for me.
I was very happy when I met with Hope for Justice. I knew someone was going to help me! They gave me new clothes, food and a very comfortable bed. They took me to London to get a new passport. Hope for Justice have been very good to me.
I am so happy to be free, to be alive!
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