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Stories of Trafficked People

Hai's story

Trafficked to work on cannabis

I grew up in a rural village in Vietnam and when I was fifteen-years-old my farther passed away. At that time I was not going to school so I tried to make a living in the capital selling plastic bottles for recycling.

A man approached me and said that I could earn lots of money in Europe working in a restaurant. I managed to raise several thousand dollars for an agent to arrange my travel and accommodation.

I was excited to travel overseas and make some money to send to my mother and sisters. After travelling trough countless countries over a 14 month period, I was eventually left at a service station in the England where I was met by a Vietnamese man called Cuong who drove us to a house in Scotland. When we arrived, the man told me that I now owed more money for the trip, plus interest. They made me water cannabis plants to pay off the debt.

My captor would lock me up in the house when he left and only returned every few days with bits of food and water. When I asked for anything or complained he would hit me and threatened that if I left the house, the police would arrest me and beat me.

Three months later the police raided the house that I was imprisoned and I was arrested and taken into custody. They questioned, I was so frightened and confused that I was too scared to tell them anything. My lawyer advised me to plead guilty and I was sentenced to 24 months in an adults’ prison and I would be deported after I served my sentence.

Jiera's story

Women trafficking to the UK face exploitation
©Karen Robinson/Panos Pictures

I was trafficked from my home country Lithuania when I was 17. My life was ruined because they forced me to work as a prostitute.

The people that trafficked me told me that I was going to London for a holiday. I was excited because I had never travelled outside of Lithuania, but my excitement was quickly replaced by dread when I landed in the city. I was forced to have sex with men and threatened with beatings if I refused.

I eventually escaped with the help of a Lithuanian punter who took me to the police but they said they couldn't help, so he took me to the Lithuanian Embassy. From there I was referred to a shelter for trafficked women.

I hate my life now and I regularly use drink and drugs.

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Many people are trafficked for the purpose of forced labourMany people are trafficked for the purpose of forced labour ©Pete Pattison

Most victims of trafficking are hidden in plain sightMost victims of trafficking are hidden in plain sight ©David Rose