UK Home Office and airline urged to stop deportation of sex trafficking victim
Summary of story from the Guardian, April 1, 2011
A charity is calling on the Home Office to halt the forced deportation of a trafficked Ghanaian woman.
Felicia Adjei was trafficked into the UK eight years ago and forced into prostitution, but is due to be sent back to Ghana despite the charity’s warnings that she may still face danger in her home country.
The Poppy project provided Ms Adjei with safe accommodation before she was sent to an immigration detention centre.
Abigail Stepnitz – the organisation’s national coordinator – says the deportation is going ahead despite an outstanding judicial review of her case.
Ms Adjei, who experienced abuse from her father as a child, was sent to the UK to work or study and earn money to send back to her family in Ghana.
She was apparently drugged and held in a house for three years, during which men would come to the house and rape her. This eventually caused her to get pregnant and contract HIV.
In a statement released by the Poppy project they said, “Not only are the relevant services not in place, but the social stigma and pressures she will experience will prevent her from recovering and may endanger her life.”
It said that becoming pregnant outside of marriage is considered taboo in Ms Adjei’s village. A villager who became pregnant after being raped, killed herself after being insulted and physically abused for years. Ms Adjei fears the same thing will happen to her.
Jeremy Oppenheim, UK Border Agency regional director for the North-East, Yorkshire and Humber, seems unsympathetic.
“When the UK Border Agency and the Immigration Tribunal find someone is not in need of our protection, we expect that person to leave voluntarily. If they fail to do so, we will seek to enforce their removal,” he said.
Ms Adjei is due to be deported via a Virgin airline flight from London Heathrow at 10.20pm tonight.
Charity workers have lobbied the airline to halt the deportation, but Virgin have referred all calls to the Home Office.