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Eva's Story - The work of Manumit Coffee highlighted in a recent Media Wales report
A woman who moved to Britain to work as a nanny but ended up being stripped of her passport and being forced into sex work has described the horrors she had to endure.
Eva - not her real name - was brought from the Baltic States under the promise of working as a nanny – but was forced to work almost constantly as a sex worker by violent gangs who paid her just £5 a day.
After escaping from captors, who regularly beat and sexually assaulted her, Eva now works at coffee production company in Cardiff that was set up to help slavery victims.
Eva said: “I was 19 when I was promised to be a nanny in the UK. I came to the UK and then after about a year I found out what I’m going to do.
“[A captor] brought one of the [working] girls to the house and they told me to shave my legs and put make up on and wear these clothes. And I thought ‘Why?’”
After this Eva was forced into sex work from 10am in the morning to 4am the following day.
“He put me to slavery and made me a working girl. He sold me to a gang for $3,500 so they said I have to work for them.
“They told me I was to work for seven days a week with little sleep. I used to have £5 a day – £2.50 for food and £2.50 for cigarettes.”
After working as a nanny for several months a woman visited Eva and told her what she was going to be forced to do.
Eva said: “My back used to be black and blue. They never hit my face. They used to whip me with belts with all of the metal studs. They would kick me in the stomach.”
Eva added that at point she would be beaten nearly every day because her captors told her she did not make enough money.
Men would be charged £70 for one hour, of which Eva would keep £30.
In early 2007, three years since leaving her home country, Eva decided to leave and managed to escape her captors.
Four years since she last worked as a sex worker, Eva has worked since June part-time at the living wage employer Manumit Coffee Roasters.
The company takes raw green speciality coffee beans and transforms them into ground and whole bean coffee products that are sold online.
Eva, who said she loves coffee, said: “I’m happy with my job. I’m safe now.
“We have a laugh here.”
The company was set up by Dai, whose full name we are not revealing to protect his staff, and his business partner as a way to offer “dignity and hope” to survivors of modern slavery after he became aware of the issue several years ago.
Dai said: “The reason that slavery flourishes is because it happens in the shadows. “We don’t see it because I think if we saw it with our own eyes we would do something about it.
“This is several years into quite a painful but passionate journey we’re on seeking to try and do something and put right what’s wrong in this area.”Coffee firm Manumit hopes to raise awareness of the issues surrounding modern-day slavery (Image: Media Wales)
Dai said he hopes the coffee will raise awareness of the issue and hopes the company will be fully operated by those who have escaped slavery.
He said: “I would love to see this company be run by the people. I have no wage for this job at all and I’m not here to make lots of money.”
All of the coffee used at their site is sourced from ethical slavery-free suppliers and profits are invested in local and international anti-slavery projects.