Tania’s story

They took my passport, said I must pay them £10,000 back, and I had to start working for 30p a day.
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“My name is Tania, I come from Latvia.

“Before Latvia became separate from [the Soviet Union] I worked as a factory supervisor, but after the Soviet Union was broken, the old factory was sold.

“Some man who was agency boss gave me advice. I sell my flat, he take all the money. He said I can stay and live in England and I believed him.

“And the reality when I just came to England: they take my passport, said I must pay them £10,000 back and I start working every day.

“They pay just 30p per day. They treat us like we are animals.

“We wake up 6am, they bring us back at 11pm. It’s gonna be in a field or in greenhouses but mostly in the field. And we always have penalty when we speak with each other.

“I remember I can’t pick the lettuce fast enough because I am scared from tractor that is behind me. Sometimes I broken some lettuce and every broken lettuce costs me £50 or more. So [I owe] this £10,000 and another £50 every day so… I think, ‘That’s it. I can’t do nothing.’

“I not have any winter clothes, just summer clothes, because I came in summer time. It was so cold and I got only sandals and it was raining, muddy. And I remember some English man [noticed something, and he] said something to my supervisor and they never take me in this farm again. They put me in a different farm and give me a jacket.

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“We were a lot of people. People sleep in the bedroom or in the corridor. When the bosses get drunk they have fun thing for them and they abuse the people. When I can feel that they come back drunk I always sleep out of house, in the bushes where they can’t find me.

“And they just choose some people and just for them fun can say, ‘You can drink water from the puddle.’ And if you don’t want to drink they can broken all your body and everything.

“And when I have bad teeth, and I said I have pain, they said, ‘Never mind you have pain.’

“And another man have bad teeth too and they said, ‘You have pain?’ And they take this hammer and just remove all his teeth with the hammer and it’s all bleeding and I say, ‘I don’t want it!’

“I go to the toilet and take out this tooth by myself and afterwards I was scared it was gonna be blood infection and I told them, and they said: ‘Ocean is big. Your body can be food for fish.’”

Name changed to protect Tania’s identity

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