Case Study – Angela’s Story
I went through a very tough time. I was a young victim of modern slavery and it was the people of Hestia who really helped me.
I come from a very poor family in Albania. I have two very young sisters, but our father abandoned us and our mother as he really wanted a son. Our mother blamed us for our father leaving. She met a new man but he didn’t like us and we were made to go out and work to survive. I farmed vegetables and sold them on the roadside – that’s how I met my boyfriend.
I was 17 and this man promised me a new life in Italy where he said he had family. He said he had a new job waiting and we’d get married and have a new life. I thought once we were settled I’d bring my sisters over to live with us.
Almost as soon as we left the country this man’s attitude towards me changed completely. I was taken to a house, raped repeatedly and forced to work as a prostitute.
I was kept against my will with other girls in the basement of a house where an older lady was in charge of preparing us for the brothels. After 5 years I was sold to 2 Romanian men who arranged to have me trafficked to the UK. I was transported to the UK in the back of a lorry and I decided to escape. I would rather die than face a new nightmare. I lived on the streets in Brixton until a lady helped me by taking me to a police station. The police immediately contacted the Salvation Army and I was brought to the safe house run by Hestia.
I was so scared and helpless, anxious that the safe house would turn out to be another brothel. But within a week I realised that I was finally safe and the staff could help me.
I was registered with a GP, given legal advice and eventually got in touch with counselling services where Albanian was spoken. For a long time I didn’t have the confidence to go out alone outside the safe house, not even to buy some food.
I missed my sisters. It turns out their new step-father had forced the elder sister to work in parties in Albania serving drinks to start off with and then sexually exploiting her. She had overheard a conversation that my youngest sister was soon going to be 15 and would be ready to do the same – so they fled. Amazingly they ended up in the UK – and through working with the police and my caseworker we were finally reunited.
My ordeal isn’t over as I have no leave to remain in the UK. The UK Border Agency say I have to go back to Albania now – but I’m appealing this decision. My life is still at serious risk.
But in the mean time I am safe and I want to thank Hestia for all the help they gave me.