Misery of Scotland’s sex slaves: Stolen children who call their merciless traffickers mum and dad despite abuse they suffer at their hands
Many Thanks to the Daily Record for the original Post.
CHILDREN rescued from traffickers in Scotland have disappeared, potentially kidnapped and resold.
The Scottish Guardianship Service, who provide support and advocacy for trafficked children, said at least eight youngsters have vanished.
They say the numbers of missing children relate only to those who passed through in the four year history of the service. There could be many more.
Service manager Catriona MacSween said the disappeared children were often lured back by traffickers, through coercion and fear, emotional attachment, isolation or debt.
She added: “We have had children go missing and we don’t know what has happened to them. It is very concerning. The likelihood is that they have been re-trafficked.
“There is always a high risk that children will disappear.
“The trafficker is still there, lurking in the background, and they see the child as a valuable commodity.”
The Guardianship Service work with unaccompanied children from outside the EU, who are asylum seekers or trafficked for forced labour or sexual exploitation.
In the last four years 180 children have come through the service, of whom 60 had been trafficked.
But there is no statutory referral to the service and last year alone, 25 children were found to have been trafficked here, almost a quarter of the 111 victims in Scotland in 2014.
Four of the youngsters were brought to Scotland for domestic servitude, eight for other labour exploitation, such as cannabis farms, and six for sexual
exploitation. Seven were brought in for reasons that remain unknown.
Two Scottish children were internally trafficked for sexual exploitation.
The children tend to be in the age range of 15 to 17, but a 12-year-old has been referred to the service.
The disappeared youngsters were under the care of local authorities outside Glasgow where there are fewer ethnic minorities and a lack of children units and foster carers means they are often left alone in bed and breakfast or rented accommodation.
If young people are not supervised in their accommodation they will have more access to phones and the internet which traffickers use to make contact.
Outside Glasgow, it is harder for them to go to school and they become increasingly lonely and vulnerable.
Catriona hopes the new Human Trafficking Bill will make referral to the Glasgow-based service statutory and provide specialist accommodation for children to stay in the city.
Jillian McBride, a guardian with the service, said children often didn’t recognise exploitation.
She worked with one former 15-year-old street child from Somalia, who had been trapped as a domestic servant in the UK since she was 13 and who saw her traffickers as her carers.
The human cost
Four youngsters were brought to Scotland for domestic servitude, eight for forced labour, such as cannabis farms, and six for sexual exploitation. Seven were brought in for unknown reasons.
The human cost
The Vietnamese boy imprisoned in a flat, told not to speak to other victims and forced to work in a cannabis farm.
The human cost
The Somalian child watching her first snow through a locked window, forbidden to touch it.
For street children, faced with the daily struggle of violence, sexual exploitation and hunger, a trafficker’s promise of a new life can hold the illusion of rescue.
Like many trafficked children, the girl was grateful to be free of the streets.
A trafficker’s hold can be financial, violent and, sometimes strongest of all, emotional.
Jillian said: “They don’t know that they have been sold and sometimes the young people form emotionally dependent relationships with their trafficker. Some will call them mum or dad.”
In the girl’s eyes her traffickers were helping her and even when out of their grasp, she wanted to keep in touch.
Jill has heard tales of torture, rape and brutality but she often thinks of the Somalian child telling her of watching her first snow through a locked window.
Jill, assigned as her guardian, heard how she was enslaved in a house and subjected to beatings, racism and abuse by the family who had bought her from traffickers.
Jill said: “She told me she watched the snow from the window and was sad because she couldn’t play in it. It was a small thing but it really upset her.”
In her domestic prison, she was nanny, housemaid, cook and cleaner and unlike the family children, she was not allowed to go to school.
After being moved from place to place, never sure of where she was, she escaped to Glasgow and made her way to the Scottish Refugee Council who led her to the Guardianship Service, which they run jointly with the Aberlour Childcare Trust.
Most of the youngsters apply for asylum but they have a maze of systems to navigate. The Guardianship Service help them through it.
Sometimes the red tape and pressure is simply too much and children return to their traffickers.
Jillian said: “They have been in horrendous conditions, brought on journeys where they witness so much violence that they are passive when they get here.
“One Vietnamese boy had been through many countries, in the backs of lorries with stopovers in various houses.”
At one point he had to walk for miles through jungle. In Scotland he was locked in a flat in Glasgow and forced to work in a cannabis farm.
When he escaped the Home Office didn’t believe he was under 18 and so he fled back to his traffickers.
Weeks later, he was picked up by police having been locked in a flat and forced to work in cannabis cultivation.
Teenager’s story: Smuggled here at just 16, girl was then prostituted
ALONGSIDE a rudimentary self-portrait, a teenager outlined her “stand” against the cruelty of the traffickers who sold her for sex.
At only 16 she was smuggled from central Africa to Scotland where she was prostituted for two years.
In an art therapy session with the Scottish Guardianship Service she wrote a summary of her “life Story”.
She wrote: “At some point you have to make a stand.
“I have to make a stand against what is trying to convince me that I have to have a miserable life and I need to just pretend that I have a good life.
“When I take a stand against that, it will all fall apart, then I can have a nice life and I don’t have to pretend.”
Five days from her 18th birthday she escaped the cruelty of her enslavers and after therapy and support from the service, she vowed to make a future.
Around one fifth of trafficked children are brought in for sexual exploitation.
The girl was locked in flats, drugged and regularly moved, waking up with no idea where she was.
The girl was suicidal, hallucinating and was terrified of being found by her traffickers and she had been subjected to regular ritual abuse.
She was haunted by the depravity she had suffered.