RADIO 4 CHARITY APPEAL
3 August 2014Juliet Stevenson's wonderful appeal aired on BBC Radio 4
for our Trafficked Women's project - AMIES
you can still hear it on www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04dh2h0
you can still donate on http://goo.gl/e5gXuF
Lana is 23. She is from Albania and joined our Amies project just over a year ago. She came to us through a refuge for victims of trafficking and had only escaped her captors a few weeks before.
At 12 she had been sold by her family to a man she believed would become her husband. She was then forced to spend the next nine years of her life being trafficked around Europe working as a prostitute. She worked seven days a week and sometimes saw up to 15 clients a day. She was desperate to get away from her traffickers but they held onto her passport and would punish her if she didn’t work to pay off the debt they said she owed.
She was isolated, lonely and wanted to die.
When we met Lana the trauma she had experienced all her adult life left her angry and nervous. She did not want to join in the games and exercises and would sit and watch the other women taking part but would reject their offers to join in. She was sometimes quiet and sometimes aggressive. After observing a few sessions she gradually started to take part. After a few months she began to make friends within the group and to express herself freely through the work. At first she maintained that her only aspiration was to be able to take care of her two small children.
‘ I have no education, no skills and no money, my only dream is to stay alive for my children.’
For a year The Amies project helped her increase her confidence, and to learn to trust again. She began to understand the obstacles she faced in life and to believe there were ways of overcoming them. She started to imagine what kind of future she wanted for her and her children and to believe such a future was within her grasp.
Lana is now in college learning English. She dreams of being a police officer and protecting others. Next year she will begin a training scheme with the Metropolitan Police.
“Thanks to Amies I am now starting my life again. I never believed it would be possible but here I am.”
The Amies project has helped support over 70 women in the three years it has been running. We have now also established the Amies Choir which meets weekly so members can make new friends and bond through singing with them. Victims of trafficking are supported by the government for only 45 days. They need ongoing support and the Amies project has proved how successful this can be.
Our goal is to provide this programme to victims of trafficking in London and other cities throughout the UK to help them cope with their trauma and develop real, fulfilling and useful lives.
To do this we need your support.