On World Day against trafficking in persons, The Sheffield Star shared Sharon’s story to raise awareness of human trafficking and the support our charity provides. Read the full story below.
City Hearts, the national anti-trafficking charity headquartered in Sheffield, is supporting slavery survivors trafficked by women known to them.
For many of those that get brought into this situation they are usually enticed to the UK with false promises and then manipulated into a life of modern slavery.
One survivor is Sharon (her name has been changed for safeguarding) who came to the north of England from Ghana.
The 27-year-old said: “My country is beautiful but there are no opportunities for anyone and there is corruption.
“I wanted to be an accountant. I managed to study for an accountancy diploma. But there was no chance of getting any further.”
It was then that her cousin living in the UK got in touch and promised to help her to get into college near her, saying she could stay with her and her family and organised her visa and paid for the flight.
“People will say this sounded too good to be true. But I had known her all my life; I trusted her totally.”
Sharon arrived in the UK and moved into her cousin’s home. She was given a mattress on the floor in the children’s bedroom.
Her joy was soon tempered when she was told she would need to wait until September to start college, and asked to work in the meantime.
She worked six days a week until late each day, without receiving a penny. She was then asked to do the household chores on top of her job, and take the children to school. Sharon then started working at a clothing warehouse four hours a day, her wages going straight into her cousin’s bank account.
After seeking advice Sharon left her cousin’s and sought help from immigration services who found there were reasonable grounds to identify Sharon as a victim of human trafficking.
Then she was given the Salvation Army’s specialist support for victims of modern slavery who put her in touch with City Hearts who found her a dentist, doctor’s surgery and optician and given counselling. She was then introduced to support services for refugees and asylum seekers and a church.