Felicia has only just begun to recover from the things that happened to her. She cannot recover if she is forced to return to Ghana. Not only are the relevant services not in place but the social stigma and pressures she will experience will prevent her from recovering and may endanger her life. Felicia is afraid to return to Ghana because she became pregnant out of marriage. This is considered taboo in her small village. She remembers when a young woman from the village became pregnant after being raped. The young woman was insulted and physically abused for years. The young woman became very depressed and later committed suicide. Felicia is frightened that the same thing will happen to her and does not want her life to end in this way.
Felicia is also HIV positive. People in Ghana will see this as dishonour to the family. Attitudes in Ghana towards people with HIV are such that that Felicia will face only rejection, physical abuse, and insult and will be shunned and treated as an outcast. Felicia believes returning to Ghana will have a detrimental effect not only on her mental health, but her life will also be at risk.
According to the United Nations:
… the government of Ghana lack[s] shelter facilities for victims of sex trafficking. With the interior ministers approval a trafficking victim may remain permanently in Ghana if deemed to be in the victim’s best interest though no victims were given such residency during the last year. There was no formal referral process to transfer victims in protective custody to other facilities.
For these reasons it is critical that Felicia is not removed from the UK but is allowed to continue her recovery in a safe and supportive environment. The Poppy Project is calling on the government to suspend the orders to remove Felicia, to release her from the detention centre and to allow her to return to the specialist shelter where she has been supported.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
See attached for sample model letters
1) Contact the airline: Felicia is set to be removed on Virgin Airlines Flight VS657 London (LHR) to Accra (ACC) at 10.20pm 1st April.
Steve Ridgway, Chief Executive
Virgin Atlantic Office, Crawley Business Quarter,
Manor Royal, RH10 9NU
Email: email@example.com (CEO)
Phone: 0844 811 0000/ 0844 209 7777 or by fax 0844 209 8708 ( http://www.virgin-atlantic.com/en/gb/customerrelations/generalenquiries/index.jsp)
2) Write to the Home Secretary
Rt. Hon Theresa May, MP
Secretary of State for the Home Office,
2 Marsham St
London SW1 4DF
Fax: 020 7035 4745
– NOTES –
The POPPY Project provides vital support and accommodation for women trafficked to the UK for forced prostitution or domestic servitude.
The POPPY Project is run by Eaves, a women’s charity working to combat all aspects of violence against women through accommodation, support services, research, education and lobbying.
For further information about Eaves’ Poppy Project, contact Abigail Stepnitz National Coordinator Poppy Project on 07738 986501 or Abigail.firstname.lastname@example.org
Eaves Housing for Women