G was trafficked into the UK and forced to work from the age of 5 years old. She worked as an unpaid maid for them and was routinely beaten and abused. When she was a few years older she was sold on to another family who treated her in a similarly horrific fashion. This continued for 10 years.
Aged 15, she managed to escape and run away from the house she was so scared of. Without money, language skills or an understanding of normal life in the UK she lived on the streets before being found and placed in the care of social services.
Through her Law Centre she applied for refugee status but disputes over her age and lack of documentation caused many delays and initial refusals. She has now been recognised as a victim of trafficking and is beginning to build a new life.
The Hammersmith & Fulham Law Centre was able to help Mathias, a boy who had escaped slave labour in Africa. His claim for asylum was originally refused until the Law Centre took up his case and successfully won him residence in the UK. As a promising footballer, Mathias now plays for the Croydon Athletic. "I feel very happy now. The Law Centre has worked hard for me and they did very well. I play for Croydon Athletic and I'm studying for a BTEC in sport. I never saw myself going to college and having a good education – I never thought this would happen."
The Access to Justice Foundation, PO Box 64162, London WC2A 9AN. DX 234 London Chancery Lane. The Access to Justice Foundation is a company limited by guarantee (No. 6714178) and a registered charity (No. 1126147). Registered office: The National Pro Bono Centre, 48 Chancery Lane, London WC2A 1JF.
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