Eva is a 28 year old woman from South Eastern Europe. She was referred to the TARA service by Police Scotland over the 2016 Festive period. She is still currently supported by the service. Please note that some personal details have been changed to protect the confidentiality and safety of Eva.
Eva comes from a small rural town in South Eastern Europe. Her Father had regular employment and her Mother stayed at home to look after Eva and her siblings. Eva did well at school and she left home to go to University in the capital city of her country. She lived in student accommodation and worked in a café to fund her studies. She also studied English privately during this time. A regular café customer called Alek began to notice her and she entered into a romantic relationship with him, he treated her well and met her family back in her home town. He told her he lived and worked in a neighbouring country but was back to buy a holiday home. Around Christmas 2015 he proposed to Eva and suggested she consider moving to the other country with him where she could continue to study English and other languages. Eva told her family who, although wary at first, supported her to move with Alek. Eva already had a passport so Alek arranged their travel and they left her country in the late spring of 2016.
On arrival they told the authorities they were on holiday and they were allowed entry. Her phone stopped working so she was unable to contact her parents but Alek reassured her that when they got to his home she could call them. Whilst in a taxi he had a phone call and told Eva she would need to stay with a friend of his as he had been called away urgently but that he would come for her the next day. Alek took her to a house and introduced her to his 2 friends. That was the last time she saw him.
Almost immediately the two men told her that she would have to do as she was told and that she would be expected to prostitute. Eva refused but they kept her in isolation, assaulted and drugged her for 2 weeks until she felt she had no choice but to cooperate in order to survive. She planned to escape by 'behaving' and gaining their trust. There were other women in this house too but they were not allowed to speak to each other and were closely monitored. Eva would see up to 10 men each day but all arrangements and payments were made through the two men. They did not provide her with condoms but sometimes the men would bring their own. She believes some of these men were police officers and people in positions of power as she would over hear their conversations with the traffickers. After some time Eva was moved to another part of the country and exploited on the streets. Eventually she was told she would be taken to another country, possibly the UK, because they could make more money there. During all of this time Eva looked for chances to escape, she also worried for the safety of her family.
In October 2016 Eva was placed in a lorry and travelled for 3 days with another person. He would bring her food and water when the lorry stopped but she had to remain hidden in the back. When the journey finished they waited for a car which took them to another flat. She found out at this time she was in a Scottish city. Her situation was similar in that she was kept in a flat with other women but not allowed to speak with them in case they tried to escape. She had to see up to 6 men each day and was only allowed time off when she had her period.
Occasionally she was able to keep the change from take away food which she hid in her room (around £20) as part of her plan to escape. Following the Christmas period the men who controlled her were drunk and sleeping. Eva took the chance to escape and jumped from a first floor window. She ran for a while then hailed a taxi and asked the driver to take her to a train station. The taxi driver could see she was hurt and frightened and asked if she would like him to take her to a Police Station but she was too scared and insisted he take her to the train. He advised her to get the train to Glasgow. She got on the first train she could find and when she arrived in Glasgow, she flagged another taxi and started to cry, the driver recognised she needed help and took her to the nearest Police Station. He did not take any money from her due to his concern for her wellbeing.
Police Scotland referred her to the TARA Service who provided her with safe accommodation, intensive support and assistance. Eva described being in their care and the response she received from the police as like 'being in a dream'.
Eva has continued to cooperate with the Police and now lives independently. She attends college and has made some good friends. TARA were able to ensure she could access legal advice and worked with her to help her feel safe. Eva continues to get support from TARA and attends the ANCHOR Service for psychological treatment from trauma. She still has pains from when she jumped from the window to escape and still worries about her family but is too scared to contact them in case she will put them in danger from Alek. She also worries too that if she returns to her home country Alek would find her and that other people would not understand, blame her and make her feel ashamed.
Precious is a 19 year old woman from West Africa. She was referred to the TARA Service by the Scottish Refugee Council in early 2015. She is still currently supported by the service, although plans are in place for her to exit the service. Please note that some personal details have been changed to protect the confidentiality and safety of Precious.
Precious is a 19 year old woman who comes from a large city in West Africa. As a child she was physically abused by her step mother and, following the death of her father, sexually assaulted by her step mother's partner. She was trafficked into domestic servitude as a 6 year old and then as a 10 year old. On both occasions she was promised that she could attend school but was prevented from doing so.
During her attempts to escape her abusive home life she was groomed by the woman who would ultimately traffic her to the UK. This woman told her she would help her to get a better life by arranging for her to work for her sister. Precious presumed this would be in her country. She was 15 yrs old at this time. The original trafficker arranged for her to have her hair done and for her eyebrows and a beauty spot to be tattooed onto her face to make her look older. She arranged for Precious to attend an office, have her fingerprints taken and to sign paperwork. This was done under a false name and date of birth that made her seem significantly older. Precious was also subjected to a ritual oath which bound her to never say no to the trafficker and to maintain the 'legend' she was given to report to authorities if questioned.
Precious was escorted to the airport and then travelled by herself to the UK. She had been given a letter, money and told to say she had medical problems if questioned on arrival. She was stopped on entry but provided the paperwork and told them what she had been taught to say by the traffickers. She was allowed to enter. She called the number she had been given and was then transported to a house in London where she met an 'Aunty' and 2 other West African women. That night she was raped. She was told that she had to do this 'work' for 3 years to pay off her debt. She and the other women would be taken by the traffickers to parties and clubs across the UK, including London, Manchester and Glasgow.
Precious was always locked in the house until one night in 2015 when she was unwell and on her own they forgot to lock the front door and she escaped. She was further abused by a man who offered to assist her. When she was 17 another family arranged for her to come to Glasgow. When Precious found out she was pregnant she became very frightened that she would die in childbirth. (Her mother had died in childbirth and she had been told that she was responsible).
At this stage she sought assistance from the authorities and disclosed her real age although the false name and DOB forced upon her by the traffickers continued to be used by the UK authorities.
Despite her vulnerability Precious has formally reported her exploitation to Police Scotland. The TARA Service were able to provide her with a place of safety and help her access early legal advice. With the help of the TARA team, the ANCHOR service and a Community Psychiatric Nurse her mood is much improved and her ongoing support from TARA significantly reduced. Precious was also supported by the team to access ante natal care and to work with social work services. We have also worked with Precious and her solicitor around the issue of her age and the false name used on the official documentation by the traffickers. This name is still used in formal correspondence and along with the tattoos acts as constant reminder of her exploitation and the control the traffickers had over her. She now lives independently with her children, has a healthy relationship, and hopes to return to education to continue her studies.