Christine is a 19 year old Albanian girl. She has primary school education and speaks very little English. She spent most of her teenage years working for her family at home. One day a friend of her uncle offered to take Christine to Europe for work, she willingly accepted his offer and her father gave his blessing. The friend organised all her travel arrangements and they flew to Dublin via London.
When they arrived at Dublin airport the friend handed her over to a man called Jim and it wasn’t until she arrived at Jim’s house that she realized her fate. Jim raped her and told her she had to do everything he said. He informed her that she owed him €50,000 because of her travel and that she would have to pay it back by selling sex to men. Christine was horrified as she never wanted to be a prostitute but she was frightened of what would happen if she refused.
Jim told Christine that if she went to the Gardaí she would be thrown in prison because her travel documents were illegal. It didn’t take Jim much to deter Christine from going to the Gardaí because her only experience of policing was one of corruption in Albania.
Jim took Christine to a house where there were 3 other young women and she was introduced to a life of prostitution. Christine had to have sex with 5 to 10 men a day. Jim or his driver would collect the women’s earnings every day and the women would receive €20 a day to buy food and condoms. Christine lived in the brothel with the other women and while they were free to go the shops, they could never go too far away from the house because they had to be available 24/7 when men rang to use them.
A few weeks later Christine was taken to another location and this time she was in a brothel on her own. Christine initially felt totally isolated in a new town with no one to talk to, except the men who used her or her pimp. In time, Christine frequently spoke with a friendly woman in the local supermarket, but she was afraid to tell her the truth.
Occasionally Christine would ring her family but she felt too ashamed to tell them what had happened. The only option Christine felt she had was to do as she was told and hope that maybe when the debt was repaid she would get free. Christine often blamed herself for deciding to go abroad and trusting the family friend.
One day the brothel was raided by the local Gardaí and Christine was arrested for not having ID and for prostitution. Christine had a lifelong fear of police and she decided not to tell them her true story.
Christine was granted free legal aid and in time built up a trusting relationship with her legal representative, who having heard her story, formed the view that she was a victim of sex trafficking. In accordance with existing arrangements in this area Christine was granted 60 days recovery and reflection period to recover from her ordeal and to give her time to reflect on her position and decide whether or to assist with a police investigation. She was also provided with safe and secure State accommodation. Christine opted to assist the police with their investigation and she has now been granted 6 months temporary residency.
Naomi, aged 13 years, grew up in a very poor family in Western Africa. Her father was in jail and her mother struggled to survive with two young daughters. The three of them shared a one bedroom apartment. Rafi, a male friend of Naomi’s mother, knew that they had very little money and offered to help. He said he had friends living in Ireland who had a very good lifestyle.
He said that through his connections he could get Naomi a part-time evening job as a baby-sitter and during the day she could attend school and further her education. Naomi’s mother agreed to let Rafi take Naomi to Ireland. However, the reality of the situation when they arrived was very different. Once in Ireland with Rafi told people he was Naomi’s uncle.
He sold Naomi to a wealthy family for a one off payment of €10,000. Her passport was taken from her. She was not sent to school, instead Naomi had to mind 3 children under the age of 4 and had to cook and clean for the family. She never got a day off. Naomi threatened to leave but the parents of the family told her if she left her mother would be arrested back home and her sister placed in an orphanage. They told her they would let her leave when she turned 18. She was effectively a prisoner in the house.
The only other person Naomi had contact with was the gardener Paul. At the age of 15 years she eventually could take no more and felt she could trust Paul, she told him her story. He reported the situation to An Garda Síochána. The Gardaí investigated the case and discovered that the girl had been trafficked, as had several other girls her age from her village. She was taken to the HSE who devised a care plan for her. Naomi’s mother was contacted but she said she did not want to get involved. Naomi was placed in foster care and now attends Secondary School.
Nadeem entered the country on a valid work permit to work as a chef in a restaurant. He is an 18 year old young man and has to support his family and extended family in his home country. Nadeem was approached in his town by a man called Nasir who was offering work to people in Ireland. To take up this offer Nadeem paid €18,000 to this man to organise the work and travel, which he borrowed from family, extended family and a money lender, He was informed that the terms of his employment were €250 to work 8 hours per day, 5 days a week including free accommodation and food.
Nadeem believed he could pay back the money over a few years. He was told that after five years he would be an Irish citizen of Ireland and he could do what he wanted. He was told that this job would last for five years. The man arranged all the necessary papers (including a visa and work permit) and documents to enable him to come to Ireland and paid his air fare.
Nadeem worked in the restaurant from 2pm to 2am, 6 days a week. He was allowed two 10-minute rest breaks a day. He worked about 72 hours a week and received roughly €2 per hour for his work. He had one day off per week, which was not fixed and was at the discretion of the other chef who was the cousin of the recruiter in their home county. He did not receive holidays or holiday pay.
The accommodation provided with his employment was overcrowded, with seven people sharing a two-bedroom apartment; it had one bathroom and no kitchen. On arrival Nadeem had very little English and could not communicate with anyone outside of his own community. When Nadeem tried to ask for an increase in his salary, pointing out that he had already paid money to get the job and needed to pay back his debts, he was told by the restaurant owner that he would not get an increase as he did not speak English. Nadeem worked in this employment for one and half years before he was unfairly dismissed for being sick and unable to work for over a week. Nadeem was eventually arrested and detained for being undocumented, due to his employer not renewing his work permit. A support organisation for migrant workers assisted him in regularising his situation after a number of months of being homeless and destitute.