“I was recruited from at a soup kitchen at a park in London. They always target people with drinking problems because we are easier to manipulate are more easy to make bad decisions by believing their lies. They know we will never claim our rights. I was promised between £50 and £70 a day but instead was paid virtually nothing. I was tricked twice. The first time I worked for a month without pay, the second time for two months. I was transported to and from different jobs block-paving driveways. I wanted to leave but the gang who employed me were intimidating and I had heard that other men who had tried to leave were beaten up by the gang. Plus, we were in the middle of the countryside, miles from the nearest town.”
Krzysztof, from Poland, experienced two bouts of forced labour in the UK at the hands of gangs who recruited him while he was drinking and vulnerable.
“This year the chairman of the collective farm insisted that I, and my daughter-in-law and my remaining children, go out to pick cotton otherwise he would take our plot away [garden plot used to grow fruits and vegetables]. The chairman said that if we don’t go out, I’ll have to pay one hundred thousand sum (approximately US$70- equivalent to more than three average monthly wages). When I said there was no way I could pay that kind of money, he started to threaten that in that case we wouldn’t get the welfare payment. I don’t know where to turn to complain.”
Mother of six children, Boiavut district, Uzbekistan
“One time while I was sowing, I was so tired that I stopped for a rest. A young guard caught me and grabbed me by my neck. I pleaded with the guard and begged for his forgiveness, but he just cursed at me and kicked me on my back and head. He said how I could dare to be tired when I had been eating so well in China. Because of that beating, I suffer from chronic back pains and headaches still today.”
A 57 year old woman from Kyongsong explains her experience of forced labour at the Hoeryong labour training camp in North Korea
“We must work for the Bantu masters. We cannot refuse to do so because we are likely to be beaten or be victims of insults and threats. Even though we agree to work all day in the fields, we are still asked to work even more, for example, to fetch firewood or go hunting. Most of the time, they pay us in kind, a worn loincloth for 10 workdays. We cannot refuse because we do not have a choice.”
Interview with an indigenous man in the Congo.
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