How rich Nigerian UK-based family deceived my parents, enslaved me for 13 years – 26-year-old lady
A 26-year-old Nigerian woman, simply identified as Cynthia, has narrated how she was enslaved at the age of 13 after being tricked into leaving her home and school in Nigeria for a better life in the United Kingdom, UK.
Thirteen years in slavery, Cynthia said was terrifying, The Independent reports.
Narrating how she spent over a decade incarcerated and exploited as a domestic servant at the hands of a wealthy, well-connected and seemingly highly respected family from Nigeria, living in Essex, Cynthia was quoted to have said “In December 2013, a year after I escaped, I was 23 then. I reported the abuse and exploitation to the police.
“During those 10 years at their mercy, as a young teenager, I would walk the children to school each day and then return home again, without neighbours voicing any concern.
“When I was 15, I started attending evening classes at the local school, but none of the teachers questioned why a teenager was studying in the evening and not during the school day.
“People didn’t care. It’s one of the things that really bothers me. I was only 13 years old, but nobody took issue with the fact that I shouldn’t be doing these things. I didn’t speak about it because I was told not to talk, but it’s sad that it took 10 years for anyone to say something.
“Before I moved to the UK, I was attending school in the village where I grew up in Lagos State, Nigeria. Although I was in school, my family was poor, and when the offer came up through a distant family friend for me to move in with a rich Nigerian family in Britain, my parents didn’t want to turn down the opportunity for me to escape poverty and gain access to a better education.
“But on arriving in the UK, I quickly discovered the reality was very different. The day after I moved here the man of the house threatened me.
“He said I had to wake up at 5am every morning to clean the house. I wasn’t allowed to go to school. I had been told I would take the kids to school and then go to my school for the day. But they said after I did the school run I wasn’t allowed to leave the house – just do the chores. That blew my mind.
“I realized I had left behind a much happier life in my home country, but I found myself trapped and was unable to break out. In Nigeria I had friends and I would play. But when I came here I had to become an adult even though I was a child. I had to take on loads of responsibility.
“It was a lot to cope with and I had no privacy at all. My bedroom door was always kept open so they could call me at any time. Sometimes at 1 a.m I’d have to get up and work.
“As time went on my treatment became worse. Several weeks after my arrival, I wrote a letter addressed to my parents, telling the reality of what was happening, but kept it in a closed notebook.
“The woman somehow found it. That’s when I realized I was really afraid of them and I couldn’t do anything. I had to beg her for forgiveness. She wouldn’t talk to me. I became like an enemy in the house.
“I couldn’t talk to people. I didn’t have anyone to talk to. I tried to tell my family in Nigeria but they didn’t believe what I was saying. The woman told them things that weren’t true – that I wasn’t behaving.
“The family realized I was constantly crying about not going to school. I would have swollen eyes at the end of every day from crying about it. The woman spoke to a friend who worked in a college and I was enrolled onto evening classes.
“Before going to classes I had to finish all the housework, the woman would inspect it before I went. Sometimes I would be late for school, other times I couldn’t go at all. But I couldn’t talk to anyone there about what was happening. I had to pretend everything was okay.
“Despite missing a year of classes and studying only in the evenings, I passed her GCSEs just a year late.
“I wanted to do a Business qualification, but it was full-time.The woman said I had to look after the kids, so I couldn’t do it. I had to do evening classes again. Accounting was the only evening class available, so I took that. I had to put so much effort in. I was determined. I had to do the housework too. I had to make sure everywhere was clean before I went to the library or anything.
“At around the same time as I began my college studies, I met someone who made escaping seem possible. I met a woman in town. She was Nigerian but not within the right-knit Nigerian community. We got talking and she gave me her number. I called her a few weeks later.
“Gradually I was able to open up to her. She said the best way was to move out of the house. From there I was able to make that choice. I knew it was the right time for me to move.
“I knew I had to leave but I was very afraid. I didn’t know where I was going or where my future lay. My head was all over the place.
“I was very afraid of the future. I didn’t know where I was going,” she says. I made up my mind that I wanted to go, but it was really scary. I had been in there for 10 years.
“I found a room to rent with the help of the woman who encouraged me to leave. It was a stressful time, and I found it hard to pay the rent. I would clean for people, I would iron clothes. But I was drained emotionally and physically.
“I couldn’t sleep for the fear of what was going to happen to me. Then I started hearing voices in my head at night, shouting orders at me. I got to the point where I was sleeping for one hour a night. I thought if everything got that difficult I would pack my bag and go back to my country, but I couldn’t even do that.
“They still had my passport and I had no visa, nothing. That’s when I decided I had to tell the police what they had done to me.
“It saddens me that even though I’ve come out of it, there are still thousands of people out there in the position I was in. The victims are kept inside the house. They’re crying but people aren’t listening out for their voice.
“My case is currently in its final stages. I won my asylum case and now working for a charity alongside my Accountancy studies.
“A lot of people in the UK don’t even know what child trafficking is,” Cynthia lamented.
Via Daily Post