‘Stop demonising them’: the trafficking victims left behind by UK’s new illegal migration bill

Police found Julia being exploited in a brothel. She helped bring her abusers to justice but new legislation could silence victims and empower traffickers, experts warn

By the time the police smashed down the door of a brothel in a smart apartment block in Sunbury-on-Thames in September 2019, Julia* had spent more than five years trapped in a life of sexual exploitation and debt bondage in the UK.

The organised criminals who were making £500 a day from her prostitution in a network of brothels across the south-east of England, were the third gang to exploit her since she was trafficked from her village in Ukraine to the UK in the back of a lorry in 2014.

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