On this solemn occasion of Anti-Slavery Day, we shed light on a distressing reality faced by countless survivors of human trafficking living in the UK.
I am Mimi Jalmasco, a resilient migrant domestic worker who managed to escape the clutches of modern-day slavery but remains ensnared in a web of uncertainty due to my precarious immigration status.
I am a courageous woman from a faraway land who arrived in the UK with hopes for a brighter future. Little did I know that my journey would plunge me into the depths of human trafficking and exploitation. Forced into domestic servitude, I endured unimaginable hardship and cruelty at the hands of my traffickers. After 315 days of enduring abuse, I summoned the strength to escape my captors. With the assistance of support from The Voice of Domestic Workers, I found my way to safety. However, my struggle was far from over. My immigration status rendered me vulnerable, caught between the desire for freedom and the fear of deportation.
Despite escaping the horrors of my past, I continue to live in limbo due to my uncertain immigration status. Fearful of being sent back to a place where my safety and well-being are at risk, I battle daily to navigate a system that often fails to provide the security and stability I desperately need.
The UK’s immigration system presents a formidable obstacle to survivors of trafficking. The process is complex, and obtaining the necessary documents to secure a future remains elusive for many. As we observe Anti-slavery Day, it is a stark reminder that the fight against modern-day slavery extends beyond rescue and rehabilitation — it requires comprehensive immigration reforms that prioritise the well-being and rights of survivors.
On this Anti-Slavery Day, we must acknowledge the urgent need for reforms in immigration policies to ensure that survivors like me can rebuild our lives without the spectre of deportation hanging over us. A comprehensive approach, focused on providing long-term support, legal protection, and a pathway to citizenship, is essential to break the chains of uncertainty.
Let us join hands in advocating for policies that uphold the rights and dignity of survivors, granting us the freedom we deserve. Only then can we truly honour the spirit of Anti-Slavery Day, striving for a world where no one lives in the shadows of fear, but rather basks in the sunlight of hope, resilience, and, freedom.