Hana's story

This is the true story of Hana. Details have been changed to protect her identity.

Worldwide, women and girls make up 58% of all forced labour victims.

"I came with my husband from Syria in hope of a better life,
war is no life.
We paid a criminal gang a lot of money to transport us.

We came through Calais the back of a lorry which was terrifying.
We were so relieved to arrive, so full of hope,
but we still owed for the journey
we were very vulnerable.
We had nowhere to live, we couldn't speak the language.

We were in a country with no right to work
but we were desperate to pay off the debt.
We were separated from people we knew,
my husband and I were kept apart.

The gang promised to find us work so we could pay off our debts.
They forged the work documents
which cost a lot of money, the debt kept growing 10% a week.

I was so trapped.
I was sent to work in a food factory,
my wages taken from me.
I couldn't let my family back home know what had happened to me,
I was too ashamed of what my life in England had become.

I couldn't tell anyone at work because I didn't want to get deported
and our exploiters always kept us looking very pristine;
with decent clothes, silk scarves, make up.
They didn't want us to look like slaves, they were clever.

And I took pride in my appearance,
I didn't want anyone to know the mess I was in
And so it went on.

One day my exploiter came to the flat to get my wages
and I challenged him - I didn't want to be a slave.
He grabbed me by the neck and half strangled me.
The next day at work I broke down
my employer asked me what was wrong,
he could see the marks on my neck.

And the truth came out.
He helped me escape, he called the Police.

All I ever wanted was a better life for myself and my family."


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Written by April De Angelis, performed by Michal Banai

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