After a long time, maybe several months I realised that I had not been paid. I was very embarrassed to ask, but I eventually asked my female employer. She looked annoyed and asked if I did not appreciate how much money they had spent to make my papers and bring me to the UK. I felt too shy to ask again and just carried on working.
I had no day off and no time to myself. I often felt hungry and cold. After I had been here maybe four or six months it must have been a weekend, the family were at home, the female employer was out with the children and the male employer came to me and told me he wanted me to sleep with him and that it was part of my duty. If I refused he told me he would tell his wife who would be very angry and they would tell the police I had stolen their things. He said he would also tell my family that I had run away with a man in the UK. He told me that on the visa I had I was not allowed to leave them and if I did leave the police would look for me and send me back to them. I had no choice. This carried on over the next year or so whenever the rest of his family were out. I thought about killing myself and didn’t know what I could do. I wasn’t managing to send any money home and had no contact with my family since I came to the UK.
One day I was cleaning and I saw a pile of passports on the desk. I looked inside them and one of them had my photo in. I decided that this was my only chance to escape. No one else was in the house at the time. I grabbed my passport and a few things in a plastic bag and climbed out of a ground floor window. I just ran and did not know where I was going.
Eventually when I was exhausted and tired I sat down on a bench and cried.
To protect the confidentiality of individual domestic workers who come to Kalayaan, Cecilia’s story is made up of a composite of real case studies.