Kay* is a 25-year-old woman from Sierra Leone. She was referred to Hope for Justice UK’s North West Hub by a local council.
Kay told us she had met on Instagram a man who was living in the UK. They began chatting and it developed into a romantic relationship.
After six months, he asked her to come and visit him in the UK. He helped arrange her visitor’s visa and she bought her flight ticket to London.
When she arrived, he met her at the airport. He took her to his flat, and at first things were going well – Kay described it as a ‘honeymoon period’. However, the relationship soon became abusive. He demanded sex from her and was violent when she refused. On several occasions he dragged her across the floor by her hair. He made her cook, clean and do laundry in the house. When she refused, he mocked her and threatened to call the police on her for overstaying her visa. She eventually managed to escape when he had accidentally left the keys at home one day.
Someone at a bus station helped her buy a ticket up north to West Yorkshire. There, she met a woman who offered to give her a room to stay for free until she found somewhere long term. Kay thought this woman was really kind and wanted to help her, however when she got to the house the woman began to ask her to look after her two young children and do the housework in exchange for letting her stay there. Kay had nowhere else to go and was scared her ex-partner would find her again, so she stayed. This woman then did not let her leave the house, forcing Kay to watch the children 24/7. She told Kay she would be in trouble with the police as she had overstayed her visa and would be deported if she ran away and the police found her. She often verbally insulted Kay.
The woman began to bring men into the house, and tried to get Kay to have sex with them – saying Kay was costing her money, and that she would have to start earning money herself to pay rent. Kay was really scared and managed to run away.
After that, she began rough-sleeping and staying at various friends’ houses and with strangers.
When she was put in touch with Hope for Justice in November 2022, we provided initial advice around her immediate housing situation along with essential items such as food vouchers. We supported with a referral into long-term support regarding her modern slavery case. Kay had been very fearful up until this point of reporting her situation, but she is now getting long-term support with housing, legal advice and her mental health.
*Name and nationality changed to protect survivor’s identity