Statement: Migrant sex worker on trafficking laws

“When I first came to this country I was forced to come, forced to be a sex-worker. I suffered violence every day, and drugs and alcohol. I was being watched 24 hours. I was begging police officers to come to ask me if I was OK — they never did, it never happened.

After a year I finally ran away. I started my own life. I started being a sex-worker for myself, making my own money, helping my own family. One of my little brothers is deaf and dumb and he needs a lot of money for support because in Romania the minimum wage is £100 a month.

After a while the police raided the flat. Being Romanian, it is very difficult. We are not allowed to stay in this country more than three months but we do have a right to be here. They say that we are gangsters and that we are begging. They say sex workers do bad things, and they threatened to deport me. But because of the ECP I found a good lawyer, and I remained in this country and went on working. They even threatened the maid, the lady who worked with me for protection. They said if we find you here again we will arrest you and the girls and put you in jail. This happens many times, sex workers are put in jail, even if they have been beaten up and raped by the customers.

Now my life is better. I found a lovely man who cares about me. We do have a lot of arguments because of my job, but at the end of the day, I need to have my own money in my pocket.”