Human traffic

Since I got to work, I’ve done nothing but read new features about human trafficking on the BBC website.

‘Forced to have sex from 11am to 10pm’

My name is Nicoleta, from Romania, and my life has been very hard. When I was 18 I was trafficked into prostitution in the UK where I worked 11 hours a day, seven days a week, for over three years.

I was made to work during my period, was often not fed so I did not become “fat”, and had to have sex without a condom.

I do not feel like Nicoleta anymore.

I was kept locked in the house for two weeks. He raped and slapped me every day. He also bought me make up and sexy clothes and made me watch sex films.

After two weeks he took me to my first brothel, where I was forced to have sex with men I did not know.

I had to work from 11am to 10pm every day, even during my periods, and I often had to give oral sex without a condom. I had to do my best because if the customer complained I would be beaten.

Sometimes they did not let me eat at night because they did not want me to get fat, so I was often hungry.

I was taken to a variety of brothels and saunas, but never allowed out alone. I did not try to escape; they threatened that they would inject me with drugs, or cut my sister’s hands and legs off if I did anything like that.

Eventually, the police raided the flat I was in, and I was taken into custody and then to the Poppy Project.

I have very bad back pain now, and painful periods. I had Chlamydia and pelvic problems. I can’t eat, I can’t concentrate and I can’t sleep, although I am very tired. I have nightmares in the day as well as in the night.

‘They raped me again and again’

My name is Rosemary from Nigeria, and I am 19 years old.

I ran away from my stepmother on my 18th birthday after she tried to force me to be circumcised.

I refused and so she beat me, and burnt me with a hot iron on the insides of my thighs as punishment.

I flew on my own to the UK, on a false passport. I was given a telephone number and told to call it when I arrived.

The plane ticket was arranged by the man and he told me I may have to pay him back once I got to the UK – but he didn’t say how much.

When I called the phone number I was given an address and went there by taxi. Two men lived there, with another woman like me.

They made me watch pornographic films, telling me that’s why I was here. They raped me again and again and I was kept locked in a room 24 hours a day.

I was only allowed out to go to the toilet. They brought food to the room, but they didn’t feed me if they were angry with me for something.

I had to have sex with five to ten men every day, in the bed I slept in at night. If I disagreed or tried to refuse, they beat me up.

Sometimes I asked the customers for help but they just laughed at me.

Finally the other woman in the house helped me to escape and I went to the police.

I am free now but I am scared to go out. I have severe depression and I can’t sleep, with nightmares and hallucinations. I can’t eat properly and I am still afraid.

There must be countless stories like this. I don’t know what to say. I feel sick.

19 responses to “Human traffic

  1. It really is sickening – what kind of people could do that to another human being? And all those men who don’t care if the girl they get cheaply is a prisoner – how low can you get?

  2. Lola, I don’t know. I just can’t fathom it at all. I’ve long believed that rape and paedophilia are the two crimes that we non-sexual-abusers will never been able to understand (as opposed to, say, burglary for drugs money), and reading these articles confirms this.

  3. Indeed. I don’t know much about it (it’s not an area I’ve ever wanted to explore in my work), so I’m not sure what the processes are. One explanation, of course, is that paedophilia is a sexual persuasion just like any other, but that’s a difficult one to argue as you can imagine. And of course, if we follow the line of thinking that rape is not about sex but rather about power, it opens up a whole other set of motivations.

    When I think about the men who visit these girls, I can’t help but think that they don’t care who they are, the conditions they’re kept in or the way they feel. They intentionally want the seedy, and presumably the seedier the better.

    Don’t know.

  4. I consider myself quite a cold, detached person but even I can’t understand being able to take pleasure in such cruelty. I suppose I should just be glad that I’m not wired that way, and hope there’s something that can punish or help those who deserve it.

  5. This is horrible and I can see why you feel sick. It happens in Ireland as well and you wouldn’t think so I think.

  6. Lola, be very glad that that’s not your thing indeed.

    Sinead, it goes on everywhere. I remember that I too was shocked when I read about the extent of sex trafficking in Ireland. I still have this romanticised notion of it, I think.

  7. “Sometimes I asked the customers for help but they just laughed at me.”

    Refuse help … and then find pleasure in the refusal. Twisted, sick creatures.

  8. I have no trouble understanding this at all. There are people out there who want more sex than they can legally get. They go to places where they can pay for sex. They do not see the women (or in some cases men) as humans, they see them as objects. It is precisely because of this “de-humanisation” that they do not feel obliged to help out these objects that have serviced their needs.

    Yes, I understand the process. Do I like it or condone it? No. It sickens me.

  9. Stephen, yes, theoretically and perhaps even intellectually, I can see why it happens but my point was that as a human being, I will never be able to understand how one person can behave this way to another. Does that make sense?

  10. Absolutely. In retrospect my post seems a little pedantic. It felt right at the time though. My God, how many times have I thought that to myself over the years!

  11. This is also a problem in Canada, although it has more to do with polygamists communities trading their women to avoid inbreeding.

    Still horrible though.

  12. The police must seem like angels when they finally break down the door. Sad. Makes me wonder what goes on in my neighbourhood.

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