Bao’s Story: Trafficked and Exploited Victim but Labeled the Criminal

Wrongly arrested, convicted, and imprisoned. A young trafficked victim called Bao* is a victim, who has lost their rights to freedom and their justice has been withheld. Even though there is legislation is place.

“Whilst in South East Asia, Bao* was promised a better life in the United Kingdom and was guaranteed work in England. His goal was to send money back home to his family”….

“However, the person making these promises turned out to be a trafficker.”

“Little did he know that this “better life” would mean being locked up in a cannabis farm and given food only once a day. After being forced to work on the farm for nine months, Bao was discovered by law enforcement.”……

“But, what he thought was liberation from his captivity was actually just a new nightmare.”

Bao* was found during the uncovering of criminal activity. He was confused for being the criminal, and not properly identified as a trafficking victim.

Why is this story is all too common?

Sometimes trafficking can take place in venues of legal work — in nail bars, restaurants, food farming, and domestic work. But many times, trafficking victims are used in criminal enterprise, including things like commercial sex work and the illegal drug trade.

In the UK, for example, victims being held captive as workers on cannabis farms is a situation we come across too often. Often forced into labour under harsh and inhumane conditions, these victims are vulnerable and in need of freedom and support.

So, why instead do these trafficking victims get treated like criminals? Shouldn’t it be simple, we should treat victims like victims?

“Bao* was one young person in our care who had a very complicated case; a criminal record that was the unfair result of our justice system being blind to the realities of trafficking within criminal activity.”

“Nothing about Bao’s story is simple.”

But, policies are changing, and Love146 UK is a big part of that.

That’s why we work with NGOs and governments organisations to stop this story from being repeated.

We’re in this journey with Bao and the trafficked young people in our care –  for as long as it takes.

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