UK Politics

Human slavery: 'I escaped through a window'

Hung's hand
Image caption Hung and his uncle were smuggled into the UK in a lorry with 10 others

As an orphaned teenager, Hung from Vietnam was smuggled into the UK and forced to work for a cannabis farm. Here he tells the BBC how he escaped human slavery.

Back home in Vietnam I was an orphan living on the streets before meeting my uncle. He gave me food and let me live in his house.

Soon after, he told me that I had to travel with him; and because I didn't have anywhere else to go, I went with him.

We travelled to lots of countries, like China, Russia and the Ukraine before we came to the UK.

I didn't like the travelling. Sometimes we travelled by boat, other times by train. Sometimes we travelled in a car or in a big lorry.

That's how I came to the UK when I was 14 years old. My uncle and I were put inside a really big lorry.

They told me to hide in a container in the back of the lorry. There were 10 other people in the lorry but I couldn't see them because it was so dark and we were all hiding.

I had to sit there for 12 hours. I didn't know where I was going.

'They would hit me'

When we got to the UK someone collected me from the truck and took me to live in a house full of plants. There were two other people already there and they told me how to look after these plants.

I was responsible for giving them water and other liquids every day and also cut them when I was told to.

Sometimes we were taken to other places to look after other plants. Sometimes we were told to carry things from one place in the house to another, and I couldn't do it because I wasn't strong enough.

When I couldn't do sometimes they would hit me, sometimes with their hands and sometimes with other things. I was very scared.

We had to sleep on the floor in the kitchen of the house, because all the rooms were filled with plants.

We spent our time there when we weren't looking after the plants. The door was locked to keep us inside and I wasn't allowed to leave the house. I don't like thinking about the things that happened there.

One day, after a year of living in the house, I escaped through a window and ran away. I couldn't speak English and could only say please and thank you so I ran around trying to get help.

I didn't know where I was or where I could go. I found a police station and they looked after me.

Before coming to the UK I had never heard about cannabis plants or cannabis farms before.

I think about going back to Vietnam, but my parents died a long time ago and I don't have any brothers or sisters. I feel safe in the UK and have friends here. At the moment this is my home now.

*Hung's real name has been changed to protect his identity. He is being supported by the NSPCC Child Trafficking Advice Centre

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