In February we received a call from a detention centre about a young girl called Blessing. She is 16 and has been trafficked into the country. By the time the call came she had been moved to the third detention centre while her case was being handled.
I made contact with her and over the next couple of weeks she came to our groups and into our homes. The home office said she is 24 ( that way she is deportable) so she was waiting for a formal age assessment.
Over the two weeks she told me that her mum died when she was 4 and her father left her when she was 5. From then on she had been on her own until she got into prostitution. She had then been trafficked through her Madame into the UK. She was picked up at the airport by the boarder agency. Three detention centres later I met her. She was pleased to be there on the whole and was hopeful about how things would turn out. The only thing that seemed to bother her was money. She had brought in with her $700 for the traffickers. That money terrified her.
Blessing was due to come to my house for a meal on a Saturday in February. She never made it. She disappeared on the Friday night. None of her things went with her, nothing was taken from her room, except the $700. It’s likely she was picked up by the traffickers.
There have been no campaigns for Blessing, no news reports or searches. She is not that important it seems. The police also said that if they heighten concern the traffickers may kill her as she is very disposable. In the end though she would probably be killed in any case.
So we are all going on as normal. It seems you don’t have to scratch at our systems and services very hard to find that our justice is but a veneer. Thin and selective in what it covers. Our underbelly is readily exposed but we don’t really want to think about it because that would make us feel nervous.
Blessing at 16 is now either serving as a prostitute or is already dead. Apart from me and you no one seems to know anything about her.