Joy’s story

  • 23 March 2019

“I am so pleased that something has finally worked out for me, with the help of the Children’s Legal Centre.”

When Joy was five years old she was trafficked from Nigeria to the UK. For 10 years she was kept as a domestic slave. She received no education, wasn’t registered with a GP and had very limited access to the outside world.

She was sold to a family where she was made to sleep on the floor and forced to do cleaning, cooking and childcare.  She was allowed out of the house only to help with the shopping and attend church.  Joy was regularly beaten if her work did not meet the required standard.

For years Joy was too frightened to try and escape. She had no one she could trust – not in the UK or Nigeria. No one in the world.  Can you imagine how lonely it must feel to have no one to turn to and not knowing if you would be arrested or deported to strange world.

For a young child to be in such an awful situation, the prospect of speaking to the authorities must have been terrifying. However, eventually Joy somehow managed to summon up the courage to escape.

She had no idea of how to get help so at just 16 years old she slept rough until she was found and referred to children’s services. However, Joy had no passport or other ID, and the local authority disputed her age because she looked older than 16 and they thought she was an adult. She found herself  homeless once again and with an uncertain future. After everything she had been through, she was sleeping rough and had no one to turn to.

It was then that Coram Children’s Legal Centre stepped in and took up her case. We appointed a solicitor who challenged the age assessment.  Eventually the case was heard in the High Court which found that Joy was 16 when she was assessed and so the local authority had a duty of care.

For the first time in her life, Joy was safe. She now receives housing and educational support from her local authority and has enrolled at college.

“I am so pleased that something has finally worked out for me, with the help of the Children’s Legal Centre.”

Coram Children’s Legal Centre promotes and protects the rights of children but can only do so thanks to the support of generous people like you.