The story of Sara, a teenager trafficked to the UK for forced prostitution

This is just one example of a child trafficked into the UK. There are hundreds more who need help.

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The Independent Online

Sara was 15 when she was trafficked from Nigeria to the UK.

She had been forced into a marriage by her parents in Nigeria to repay a debt that her family had accrued. Eventually, after repeated rape and abuse, she managed to escape to a neighbouring village where she was helped by the Church.

Sara was then approached by another man at the Church who promised to keep her safe. She was then made to take part in a juju ceremon, which involved taking an oath that she would not speak to anyone about what he was doing to help her. Assured by a local pastor that she could trust him, she was taken to the UK by a trafficker, who then left her at the airport.

Hours later, she was found by the authorities and taken into foster care, but the trafficker tracked her down months later and threatened her. She was told she owed money, and needed to pay him back, which took her away from care and into prostitution.

After two years with no place to sleep and being forced to have sex for money, she was found when the flat she was moved to was raided.

The police released her, and it wasn't until after another year that she was detained at an immigration detention centre and her solicitor heard her story. They then referred her to Eaves’ Poppy Project for support in accessing accommodation, specialist health support, and counselling.

After support from Eaves since February 2012, Sara is now doing a full time college course, and is due to receive counselling soon.

While she is making significant personal improvements, her case has been refused by the Home Office, and she is currently waiting for an immigration appeal, unsure whether she will deported.

Numbers of human trafficking are on the rise. Click here for a full report on child sex trafficking. Why were there only eight convictions in 2011?