I grew up in Zimbabwe. I initially trained as a nursery nurse. I could well have trained alongside any one of these victims coming into the UK on the promise of an amazing work opportunity. Suddenly it all seems very personal. Almost like having a family member trapped in an abusive marriage. These are my people, my friends/colleagues and community. Of course you would do everything in your power to help that family member. Sometimes it’s hard to imagine the reality of human rights abuses when it is in factories way off in the far east. We work in this sector because we are passionate about human rights – but sometimes you can’t actually feel it until an article brings it right to your doorstep.
Zimbabweans don’t really want to leave their beautiful home country, they are being forced to leave because of an impossible economic situation – just as I was 22 years ago, unable to support myself and wanting a better life for my son. Except, it was different for me – I was born in the UK and had a British passport, so the transition was easier. I most certainly do not paint myself as a victim, but I can identify with their plight. This is happening all over the world and the UK then becomes the host for the criminal activity that exploits the vulnerable.