July 30, 2018
Ana’s Story – World Day Against Trafficking in Persons
To mark World Day Against Trafficking in Persons (Monday 30 July) our former service user, Ana*, tells her story of being encouraged to travel to the UK under false pretences and how MASH supported her.
You can help other women like Ana by donating today. Visit our campaign page justgiving.com/campaign/anasstory
Or text MASH30 £10 to 70070
Here’s Ana’s story:
“I met a guy online, Nic, and we clicked straight away. We started to speak regularly and I really looked forward to our chats. He made me laugh and we had so much in common. I was nervous but excited when, after a few weeks, he suggested we meet in person.
“I flew to Prague to meet him and we had the most amazing few days. We both agreed it was fast but we had really fallen for each other and we knew we wanted to be together. We opened up and shared our hopes and dreams for the future and he suggested we could start a new life together in the UK.
“I was aware of the type of work I’d be doing but I was prepared for it and knew it could provide us with a lifestyle I could never dream of at home. Wages where I’m from are so low and most people live in dire poverty.
“As soon as we arrived in Manchester I knew something didn’t feel right. Nic took my documents from me and deleted all my contacts and social media apps from my phone. It soon became clear that I was part of a much bigger group, I wouldn’t just be working for myself.
“Working on the streets, I tended to hang around with the same small group of women. They’d been introduced to me, were really friendly and it was nice to be around people that spoke my language and were going through similar experiences.
“It wasn’t long before the MASH van arrived for the first time and I got on board with my new friends. The MASH team gave me food and a hot drink, condoms and information in my language about dodgy punters who’d been in the area. One of the ladies spoke to me in my language, explaining what MASH did and how they could help me if I ever wanted to get out of my situation. They made me feel so welcome and despite being a bit wary, I felt like I could trust them after meeting them a few times. I looked forward to seeing the van on dark, cold nights.
“I kept thinking about MASH and everything the lady had said to me about how they could support me. By that point I had decided that I desperately wanted to get out of this situation and get home as soon as possible.
“One night, Nic asked me to look after my passport as he was scared he’d get caught with it and I knew I had a golden opportunity to get away. My heart was in my mouth when I saw the MASH van come around the corner. I was so relieved to see it. I got on by myself and explained my situation and that I wanted their help to get me home. MASH took me to a safe place and helped me every step of the way. I knew that the service is confidential so nothing about me would ever get back to anyone else.
“I am now back at home and much happier and believe I am very lucky to have escaped my situation. I am eternally grateful to MASH. I don’t know where I would be now if this service didn’t exist. It really is a lifeline to women who have been trafficked and any female sex worker on the streets of Manchester. They don’t realise the huge impact they have on women like me.”
Donate today to ensure MASH can always help other women like Ana. We are campaigning to raise £1,000 towards interpreters who enable us to provide personal support to women who have been trafficked into the UK and coerced into risky sex work on the streets of Manchester.
Text MASH30 £10 to 70070 or visit justgiving.com/campaign/anasstory to make a difference today.
*Names and details changed to protect identities