An Australian story of a women caught in Sexual Servitude*
Note: Sexual servitude can often start as domestic violence or rape within marriage. It becomes modern slavery when the woman or girl has no freedom of movement, no phone, no bank account, no friends or is prevented from making her own choices.
Living in the Ukraine was hard. Work was scarce. There were many times when I didn’t have enough to eat, as my family was unable to support me. The only way left in my country for many of my friends to earn good money was to sell themselves to men. But I never did that. I didn’t want to. I just couldn’t, no matter how hard things were sometimes.
During that difficult time, I was excited and happy when at school. I meet a kind Australian man online and we became good friends. Over a period of five months we talked nearly every day – and I fell in love with him. After six months he came to visit me in Ukraine and proposed. My family was so excited. I was so excited. A new and better life was ahead of me.
Everything seemed perfect. I went back with him to Australia.
Then it all changed.
The man I loved became very controlling. He made sure I was working in the family business, cleaning commercial buildings. I worked long hours every day, without any days off. He would take me to work and bring me home. I had no freedom and I had no friends. When I got home he would not allow me to contact my family. I never got paid for any of the work I did. And at night he would rape me and beat me.
Sometimes he would give me to his friends for their sexual pleasure.
I was trapped.
Eventually I fell pregnant. I was so excited: I thought it would change his mind and he would love me for having his child. I thought it also mean’t I could stop working. This did not happen. I had to continue to work every day, and when I was sick and complained he would hurt me. Each day was very hard.
When I gave birth to our son the hospital staff asked about my history. Unable to show proof of my identity, they ended up calling the police.
Soon I was moved out of my home – and put under protection with my child.
My New Freedom
Now I have started divorce proceedings and can look forward to enjoying my life here in Australia with my child. It’s still hard at times to get by. But with my new network of support and a casual job, I am able to support my son and myself. The Freedom Hub has given me free classes to help improve my English and learn the computer. They helped me with furniture and things I needed for my own home. I now proudly live independently.
Please share this article as part of this 16days of Freedom. Shedding a light and raising awareness on the violence against women and girls through the lens of modern slavery.
Tomorrows Article: What does Freedom mean to a Slavery Survivor? – from survivors we are working with.
[*This is an account of one of our survivor’s slavery situation, however some details changed to protect identity.]
ABOUT 16 DAYS OF FREEDOM
Thank you for your part in this 16 Days of Freedom. We cannot change culture without awareness, so please share this post with your friends to help raise awareness. Here are the hashtags for your share: #16daysoffreedom #freedomhuborg #womensrights #orangetheworld
16 Days of Freedom is a campaign we are running to align with the UN awareness campaign United Nations’ UNiTE campaign on gender violence against women and girls. As a result we are focussing on abuse of women and girls through the lens of modern slavery.
So for 16 days we will post a story to highlight the issue. To end the 16days we invite you to come to or host a Festive High Tea for Human Rights. These will be held on or near the UN Human Rights Day on the 10th December.
You can join our High Tea in Waterloo, Sydney, by clicking HERE.
Or you can Host your own High Tea by registering HERE and we will send you an information and fact sheet to read or distribute to your guests.
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