Refugee Council has launched an appeal to support trafficked children.
“Trafficked children have been let down, abused and neglected in their home countries and here in the UK. They have lost faith in humanity,” Refugee Council says.
Josephine's story is typical of many trafficked children Refugee Council meets – both in terms of her abuse, and the inadequate response of the UK authorities.
Josephine started receiving threats after the police asked her to identify the gang members she had witnessed stealing from an internet café, but didn’t conceal her identity during the line-up. She was sent first to stay with a neighbour, who then took her to his friend.
Instead of offering her safety, the man forced Josephine to swallow over 30 pellets of cocaine to smuggle from her home city in South America. He then took her to London, where she was sold into sexual slavery and locked in a room, only being allowed to the bathroom with an escort. After two months, she managed to escape.
When Refugee Council met Josephine, she had lost faith in humanity.
She told Refugee Council how she had been passed from one social worker to another and how she didn’t feel that she was listened to. She said that when she arrived she couldn’t speak English and there was no interpreter available to enable her to tell social services what had happened or how she was feeling.
Josephine felt like giving up. She was just 17 years old.
Refugee Council’s specialist advisers listened to Josephine. They got to know her, and helped her recover from the traumatic experiences she went through at home and in the UK. Refugee Council helped her access English lessons and gave her the chance to socialise with other children, and gradually, Josephine started to learn how to trust again.
Consistent care and support from an adult they can trust. That’s all it takes – but your donations are essential. Last year, 41 children were referred to Refugee Council’s Trafficked Children Projects.
Here’s how your donation can help trafficked children
– A donation of £27 could help trafficked children access English classes
– Donating £52 could give trafficked children the chance to socialise with other children
– A donation of £98 could provide one trafficked child with consistent care and support for a month