This is an appeal from the ngo Eaves Housing - please take action (see below)
Felicia Adjei, a vulnerable woman who was trafficked into the UK and brutally exploited in forced prostitution is facing removal to Ghana tomorrow. She is currently waiting in an immigration detention centre.
Felicia comes from a very poor family who lived in a rural village and experienced extensive physical abuse from her father as a young girl. Eight years ago her father sent her to the UK. She thought she would study or work and send money home to support her family. She thought her father’s friends had arranged legal paperwork. She had no idea what she was about to experience. Felicia was held in a house for nearly three years. During this time men came to the house at least 3 times per week and forced her to have sex. Sometimes she was given drugs in her food. She began refusing to eat or drink but she was forced to do so with violence. Sometimes she wasn’t drugged and was physically forced to have sex with men using various sex toys that she has never seen before in her country. Sometimes she would not see the person raping her because she was drugged. If she struggled then she was beaten up by the men. She would often bleed heavily when she was forced to have sex and suffered with severe stomach pains but was never allowed to get any medical treatment. Felicia was not paid for the work she was forced into. As a result of this trauma she is now living with HIV and became pregnant due to rape.
Felicia has only just begun to recover from the things that happened to her. She cannot recover if she is forced to return to Ghana. Not only are the relevant services not in place but the social stigma and pressures she will experience will prevent her from recovering and may endanger her life. Felicia is afraid to return to Ghana because she became pregnant out of marriage. This is considered taboo in her small village. She remembers when a young woman from the village became pregnant after being raped. The young woman was insulted and physically abused for years. The young woman became very depressed and later committed suicide. Felicia is frightened that the same thing will happen to her and does not want her life to end in this way.
Felicia is also HIV positive. People in Ghana will see this as dishonour to the family. Attitudes in Ghana towards people with HIV are such that that Felicia will face only rejection, physical abuse, and insult and will be shunned and treated as an outcast. Felicia believes returning to Ghana will have a detrimental effect not only on her mental health, but her life will also be at risk.
According to the United Nations:
… the government of Ghana lack[s] shelter facilities for victims of sex trafficking. With the interior ministers approval a trafficking victim may remain permanently in Ghana if deemed to be in the victim’s best interest though no victims were given such residency during the last year. There was no formal referral process to transfer victims in protective custody to other facilities.
For these reasons it is critical that Felicia is not removed from the UK but is allowed to continue her recovery in a safe and supportive environment. The Poppy Project is calling on the government to suspend the orders to remove Felicia, to release her from the detention centre and to allow her to return to the specialist shelter where she has been supported.
TAKE ACTIION - WHAT YOU CAN DO:
Contact the airline: Felicia is set to be removed on Virgin Airlines Flight VS657 London (LHR) to Accra (ACC) at 10.20pm 1st April. Contact them on 0844 811 0000/ 0844 209 7777 or by fax 0844 209 8708 (http://www.virgin-atlantic.com/en/gb/customerrelations/generalenquiries/index.jsp)
Contact your MP: Ask your MP to intercede on Felicia’s behalf. Find their contact details here: http://www.theyworkforyou.com/
– NOTES –
The POPPY Project provides vital support and accommodation for women trafficked to the UK for forced prostitution or domestic servitude.
The POPPY Project is run by Eaves, a women’s charity working to combat all aspects of violence against women through accommodation, support services, research, education and lobbying.
For further information about Eaves’ Poppy Project, contact Abigail Stepnitz National Coordinator Poppy Project on 07738 986501 or Abigail.firstname.lastname@example.org