My name is Natasha. I am 16. I came here from Bosnia a year ago. I thought I was going to be a housekeeper or do cleaning work. I met a man at the airport and he gave me a ticket and a passport and a friend of his met me off the plane when I got here. He recognised me because they’d sent my picture to him on the Internet. He took me to a flat and raped me, he said he was ‘breaking me in’ ready for the work that I had to do for him. These men are not Bosnian –I think they are from Lithuania. My passport was taken from me and I was told that I had to work to pay off the money they had spent on me. They have put me in a flat with some other girls and I have to work in this place –it’s called a massage parlour - to pay them the rent for the flat and the money I owe them. They’ve said if I don’t pay them and don’t do as I’m told, they will hurt my family back home. I have to see at least 30 men a night to get enough money. I do what ever they ask me to do –sometimes they injure me. There are girls working here from Albania and Africa. My friend Anna from Albania has worked in Italy and France and in different cities here. Her parents sold her to the Maltese man who brought her here. Another girl called Moira, from West Africa, has had a worse time than me and she is completely terrified. Before she left Lagos she was kept in a cage and raped. She was told to claim asylum when she got here and then run away from the hostel that social services put her in. She had a contact number sewn into her clothes and some men came to get her when she phoned them, and brought her here. She’s got this piece of animal claw in her bag which she says has the power to make her do as she is told –it’s some sort of curse like voodoo. If she doesn’t do what the men say then something evil will happen to her –but what could be more evil than this life that we’ve got now? There is a woman who runs the massage parlour who takes the money from the men and she gives us clothes to wear at work, and cigarettes. If we are ill she pays for us to see a special doctor but she takes the fee for that out of our earnings. She says that she was trafficked here herself and used to have to work on the streets selling sex, so she says we have a better life than she had. I don’t think I’m ever going to earn enough to get away from here. I have wondered about running away but I’ve heard about what happened to the girls in Birmingham who were found when a brothel was raided. They were put in a detention centre and might get deported –so in this country I don’t think I’ll be seen as a victim needing help and I won’t get looked after. I couldn’t face going home –I’ve brought shame on my family because of what I’m doing, I don’t want them ever to find out.
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