Why am I crying? I am crying because I am thousands of miles away from home in a foreign country away from my family and a victim of human trafficking.
My Name is Amelia Whit, I am 20yrs old from a lovely Caribbean island. I was always a smart girl in school and finish school three (3) years ago with nine (9) subjects but was unable to get a job after writing applications to several businesses on the island. Being the oldest of four (4) children to my single parent mom I felt pressured to help out with the financial situation at home as my mom worked as a domestic helper and was having difficulties providing for me and my other siblings.
Browsing Facebook was how I would relax. One day I saw a job ad on Facebook for a position in another Caribbean island I always dreamt of travelling to. The position was for a live-in babysitter and the salary offered was very good. Having had the task of looking after my three younger siblings I figured this job was easy. I immediately send an application and within an hour I was speaking to a woman who said she was the mother of the children and gave her name was April. We spoked about my life, finishing school and not being able to find a job. She accepted my application and asked me when I could start working. I told her I was not sure because I had no passport or money for airfare. She told me that was no problem, she would help me out and I can pay her back the money when I start to work. She said she would be able to get me other jobs also which made me happy. More jobs! More money! This was very exciting for me because I would not only pay her back quicker but I would be able to send stuff to my brothers and sister. I told my mom who was all too happy to see me get a job after trying so hard.
April sent money for me to organize my passport and she booked my flight, I left for that island having said my goodbyes to my family. Upon arrival I was met at the airport by April. She took me to a house and told me the kids were out with her husband and would be back soon. She offered me some food which I ate because I was feeling hungry after the flight. Sometime after, I do not know what happen but I remembered waking up to feeling someone on top of me. When I looked up I realized I was lying on a bed and being raped. I tried to push off the man but was too weak to do so, I could not move my body. I cried because I was a virgin. I then saw April come and stood over me and said to me that “if I don’t please the men she sends in my room she would kill me”. I cried, I had not left my country and family to be raped, not my life. There was no escape from this room, I noticed the windows had burglar bars and could not open and the door always locked.
I was only allowed to leave my room once a day to only to use the bathroom but under escort. I was feed meals in my room. Every day I was forced to have sex with about ten (10) men. Some of these men I found out were businessmen, lawyers, police and a pastor by overhearing conversation with them and April and uniform they worn.
How can someone be so wicked? I asked myself. My thoughts were always on my family. One day a man came into my room and told me he was going to help me, he was a pastor. How could I trust him when raped me over and over by men like him? He told me to trust him and he asked me to tell him how I came to be in this situation which I did. He left after his time was up. About an hour later I heard shouting of Police! Police! and gunshots. I started to get scared. I heard the door open and it was the same man along with the police. They told me everything will be alright and took me out the room.
I noticed April along with other persons were in handcuffs. I was taken to the hospital by a female police officer to be examined and she told me that I was a victim of human trafficking. I asked her what human trafficking is. She told me that it was an organized criminal activity in which human beings are recruited and exploited against their will and forced into prostitution, domestic servitude and forced labour among other things. I am happy to be alive today to tell my story to warn potential victims of human trafficking to be aware.
Be careful, be wise, be assertive; do not be deceived by “human traffickers” or would be “exploiters”.
A message from the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Unit (ATIPU) of the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force.
Questelles Police Station