This wasn’t supposed to happen. How did I end up here?
I lay on my back, staring at the ceiling, my face deadpan, counting in my head until he had finished. He was my twelfth customer of the day.
I hated what I was doing but there was no choice. He had made that clear. ‘If you don’t do as you’re told, I will kill your family.’ It made me feel sick and clammy.
My parents thought I was on my way to the UK to work in a hotel. They had been so excited. There were no career opportunities in my village, it was too small. And I’d always wanted to learn English. It made me feel so grown up and sophisticated when that man came and interviewed me. He was so charming, showing me photos of where I’d be working and assuring my parents that he would accompany me so I’d be safe.
Safe? Ha. That was a joke. If only….
There was no job and no hotel. Just a bunch of other girls naively hoping for a better life.
He took away our passports and gave each of us a small room with a bed in it. This is where we work and where we sleep. There are four of us in this house. I seem popular with the customers, so I earn lots of money. Not that I get to keep any of it.
This is not what I expected. Will I ever get free?
Last weekend I was at an ACW writers’ retreat at Scargill House in North Yorkshire, hosted by Adrian and Bridget Plass with Tony Collins of Lion Hudson and Monarch Books as main speaker. Tony gave us a challenge to write about a journey. So I wrote it from the point of view of a young woman trafficked to the UK from Eastern Europe. Although it is fiction, this actually happens.