XIN IS FROM CHINA. HER PARENTS DIED SUDDENLY WHEN SHE WAS NINE YEARS OLD AND SHE WAS TAKEN IN BY A RELATIVE WHO PUT HER TO WORK AS A DOMESTIC SERVANT.
At the age of 11 she was introduced to a man working with her aunt and forced into prostitution. She was terrified but too small to resist. The treatment she endured was physically and sexually barbaric, and she has scars all over her body as a result. At 14 she attempted suicide. As punishment, she was kept in solitary confinement and chained up. Aged 19, having endured ten years of slavery and prostitution, her aunt sold her to a customer. Xin was trafficked to the UK for the purposes of sexual exploitation.
To her dismay she found herself in another brothel, having hoped that her buyer would help her escape. After a few weeks she managed to escape through a bathroom window. She ran, wearing only flimsy indoor clothing and footwear. She didn’t speak a word of English and had no idea where she was. A passer-by found a Chinese speaker and Xin explained that she was in danger and was taken to the police. She applied to the Home Office for asylum and her claim was refused, but on appeal she was granted three years humanitarian protection.
Xin was referred to the team at the Helen Bamber Foundation when she was 20. Initially she would sob silently throughout sessions, covering her head and staring at the floor. She was in incredible pain but could not vocalise her distress. After a slow start, she began to engage in therapeutic work. Xin began to dress differently, taking pride in her appearance.
Initially she would sob silently throughout sessions, covering her head and staring at the floor. She was in incredible pain but could not vocalise her distress.
Gradually Xin felt able to trust the team at the Foundation and believe she was worth caring for. She has never missed an appointment, despite the pain of articulating her difficulties. She says: “I am like a baby again in this strange country. I have to start learning everything all over again, but I have to do it quickly because I have already lost so many years.”
Her therapist provided two detailed reports for Xin’s appeal hearing and gave evidence in court to support her asylum claim. Bearing witness is a profound and important validation of a Survivor’s experiences. Xin is highly intelligent and has learned English very quickly. As soon as she was given leave to remain in the UK she got a job – only receiving benefits for one week.
Despite grieving for her losses, Xin is optimistic about what her life holds. She recently took the therapist’s hand, looked at her in the eye and said, “I will have a future and you will see it.”