Marcia's* story as a victim of Financial Fraud (criminal exploitation)

*Names changed to protect identities

Read the 'Criminal Exploitation of Adult Victims' report

Marcia was an orphan in her home country. She had an older sister and they would buy and prepare liver to sell. This was their only source of income.

Marcia wanted to get an education, but they could not afford it. A woman from their local mosque told Marcia and her sister about a scheme that supported young girls to go abroad and study. Marcia’s sister arranged for her to go.

After sleeping at a petrol station for a few days, Marcia met the lady from the mosque. Marcia was 12 years old, had never been on an aeroplane and had never left the country. The lady flew with her.

When Marcia arrived in the UK, she was greeted by a man at the airport and was taken to his car. This man was very old, and he told Marcia that she was going to be his wife.

He took Marcia back to his one bedroom flat, and raped her every night.

Marcia was taken away by a friend of this man, and for the next three years she was moved from households every few weeks or months. She would stay at these houses without pay, and would cook, clean and look after the children. Marcia stayed with one family for a particularly long period of time, and was given papers. They did not have her name on them – but she was told that her name had been changed for her safety – and now that she had these papers she would be allowed to go to school.

This same woman asked Marcia if she would like a passport. Marcia, who was very young, agreed. She signed forms that had been completed on her behalf and was given a passport which she used to open a bank account. The same woman asked Marcia to sit the ‘life in the UK’ test on multiple occasions, but after the first time Marcia grew suspicious and refused.

After many years of being exploited by different families, Marcia met someone who told her how to access housing from the council. With her passport she presented as homeless and was put in a hostel. Over time she started to study at college, and eventually went to university to become a nurse. By this time Marcia had three children.

One day, the police came to Marcia’s university and arrested her for using fraudulent documents.

Marcia was advised to plead guilty by her solicitor so that she could go home to her children, even though she hadn’t known that the documents she was using were false. Marcia spent a year in prison. It took her a long time to tell anyone about her story, but one day she told her story to a prison officer.

The prison officer recognised that Marcia was a victim of modern slavery, and referred her to the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) where she received support from Hestia and The Salvation Army.

Marcia is desperate to build a new relationship with her children. She says that things have never been the same since she went to prison; as they found it very difficult to understand why she left them and they fear that she will leave them again.

Marcia is currently completing a baking course for women who have experienced sexual violence. She hopes to become a professional baker one day.

Read the 'Criminal Exploitation of Adult Victims' report