‘Trafficked’ Sophie’s personal story of being trafficked from the UK

It was a December, and a normal day in the STOP THE TRAFFIK office. I remember I was sitting next to my colleague and engrossed in some task or other when the phone rang, another distraction! I picked it up and started to talk to the woman on the other end of the phone. She said her name was Sophie, and she said she had been trafficked.  She said that she’d like help and would like to help us.  Neither of us knew what this meant, but in hindsight it was about connecting, being understood, being part of something that worked to prevent the trafficking of people.  

I got off the phone and just looked at my colleague with wide eyes and explained the phone call.  It is so rare for someone to identify themselves as having been trafficked, and to be so open and articulate in sharing the horrors of what happened to them.  I couldn’t have known then that the woman on the end of the phone would take me with her on an incredible journey of rebuilding her life, her hopes and dreams for the future, finding her own justice through sharing her story so that awareness is raised about trafficking – a journey which is still continuing after 6 years of friendship.  I had no idea when I answered that phone and heard her story for the first time, that I would be proud to witness her telling it today.

Sophie and I built a relationship over the phone over the next few months, and eventually had our first meeting at a café in a train station perhaps 6 months after we first spoke, by which time I knew Sophie’s story …

She was living in a city in the North of England, and was 18yrs old and had no idea about human trafficking. One night she was out with friends, Kas started talking to her, he worked at a bar she went to all the time. He was very flattering and fun but she said no, she wasn’t interested and already had a boyfriend anyway. However, in the following months they developed a friendship, he accepted she wasn’t interested and what came out of it was an amazing friendship. They had swapped numbers and at this point chatted regularly on the phone. After about a year she broke up with her boyfriend of the time and Kas was there, understanding what she was going through and really listening.

 They had known each other for some years now and she trusted him as a best friend. He told her he was off to Italy for a holiday, and she should come along for a weekend to cheer herself up. Tempted by some light relief, some pizza and a chance to get away for a few days, Sophie said yes.

It was when she got to Italy that everything changed.Kas changed. He announced on her first night that he was in debt and Sophie must help by working on the streets to earn the money he needed to pay back. It was the start of a previously unimaginable horrific experience.

 Sophie had been trafficked but it wasn’t until she was back in the UK over a year later and an internet search threw up STOP THE TRAFFIK that she realised she wasn’t the only person that this had happened too.  Sophie’s story is a stark reminder that trafficking is not something that happens far away to someone else. It happens everywhere. Sophie could have been my sister, one of the girls from school, or someone from my work.

Sophie found  STOP THE TRAFFIK and has been involved ever since. She accompanied STOP THE TRAFFIK to the United Nations to present our declaration in 2009 and she has been part of raising awareness with vulnerable young people.  She has changed our story and hopefully we have also changed hers.

You can read Sophie’s story which is out now and is available on Amazon http://www.amazon.co.uk/Trafficked-Terrifying-Story-British-Forced/dp/0007438885/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1327677701&sr=8-1

26 thoughts on “‘Trafficked’ Sophie’s personal story of being trafficked from the UK

  1. Pingback: A Personal Story of Being Trafficked from the UK | A riverside view Blog

  2. Katie Watson

    I have just finished reading Sophies’s book after buying it just 3 days ago, I saw her interview on This morning the other day and could not imagine how horrific her ordeal was & felt compelled to read her book. She is an inspiration after the hurendous things she went through, I had to keep reminding myself that her story is real as it’s often something you would read in fiction, to think this actually happens is heart wrenching and I hope her strength helps others and the brutal people who traffik get stopped. Keep up the good work to get these people and stop trafficking! If Sophie reads these comments then I would like to say you are amazing and have great courage to have written about your ordeal x

  3. Dave Wallis

    An excellent book which shows that this type of thing is happening next door, not only thousands of miles away. I take my hat off to Sophie’s bravery and wish her a contented and successful future.

  4. Scarlette Black

    Trafficking makes me sick. I am lucky not to have had the same experience as Sophie, but I wish nor had she. I have her book personally and am currently studying this to make a book to help people like Sophie be freed. Hopefully someday you may get to read it, or even your children. Trafficking is a horrible thing and those who do it should feel lucky if they are not punished with death.

  5. Rebecca

    I had just finished reading Sophie’s book and was so touched by what has happened to her and other women in the appauling situations. I would now get involved to help and support.

  6. alison

    such a brave and honest account. It was heart renching from the perspective of being a Mother a daughter and a young woman , well done you, your amazing x

  7. Sophie I have just read your book and it broke my heart with every turn of the page I was hoping you would escape. What you have done since coming back to England with STOP THE TRAFFIC is an inspuration. I am currantly off work waiting for an operation on my shoulder but as soon as I am back at work I would like to set up a direct debit to your foundation.
    I hope you life is now bringing happiness and fulfilment and I am inspired by the person you are.
    Please give me details on how I set up this direct debit.
    Regards Stephen Looker

  8. I am spreading the word about STOP THE TRAFFIK! My heart breaks for every person involved in trafficking and I have a heart for this,…for this to end!
    Sophie – you are an amazing, and strong woman. Keep on sharing our story. Even if it helps one person out of trafficking, that is already a great accomplishment!

  9. Garry

    Purchased Sophie’s book a couple of days ago as it was one of the top rated ebooks on my android phone. It really did grip me and what a sad story. Sophie is a amazing person a very brave woman. I never knew the extent to trafficking and it is never been something I have actually looked in to. After reading Sophie’s book Stop The Traffik will be a charity that I will support. It is a disgrace to think that there are such evil/ mental people out there that would take someone against there will then treat them in such a way. I wish Sophie all the best in the future and I believe she will do well as she is a strong person and has great support around her.

  10. nothing but fake stories

    this girl was not ‘trafficed’ she choose to do what she did, she choose prostitution, no one kidnapped her or forced her, it was her decision.

    1. Tracey

      Not everyone lies! A part of me thought when I was reading this book was, I would have told that copper or when she was in France, I would have got to a ferry or something, then I thought I can’t say any of this because it wasn’t me in that situation!!! you can never say you would do this or I would do that. So I think ya wrong.

    2. sarah

      I find this very ignorant of you to say such a thing! There are all different circumstances surrounding trafficking, it doesnt have to be the stereotypical form of being “kidnapped” and forced to prostitute. This girl was terrified of what that scumbag would do to her family and to herself if she didn’t do what he said. That is probably the reason she wrote the book because her situation was different to the “normal” way of trafficking.

  11. Tracey

    I’m half way through my book and my heart bleeds for this young lady and these people that are going through the same thing, and if they are lucky to escape, what about the scares they must have. (wrong to say but yet feels so right) I hope Kas and other scum balls like him die a slow and painful death.

  12. joanne

    Horrified knowing stuff like this happens in this day and age, the book is a must read, what Sophie went through is horrifying but a happy ending nether the less, i wish you all the luck in the world Sophie health and happiness to you..xx

  13. wendy

    Just read Sophie Hayes book … A very touching story and very strong and brave lady ………You hear about traffiking but when you read about someone who has personally gone through this ordeal …it makes me sad …it has made me want to learn more about traffiking and maybe help in some way …………… i wish Sophie all the best for her future …

  14. Alan R

    I have just finished reading Sophie’s book and even as a seasoned detective with over 25 years experience it was one of the most moving accounts that I have ever read. I am ashamed to say that even though I was generically aware of trafficking issues, I had no idea or concept or the real impact trafficking has on its victims. What makes this even worse is the fact that I was an Intelligence officer based at a busy international airport for a short period of time. There is no doubt in my mind that far more needs to be done to raise the profile of these horrific crimes and increase awareness amongst the relevant agencies and the public in general. Thank you Sophie, your courage in sharing your account should serve as an inspiration to us all.

  15. anonymous

    A very moving account of what happened to Sophie and continues to happen throughout the world including internal trafficking throughout the UK. It has helped me to understand what happened to my daughter some years ago.
    Thank you Sophie for being brave enough to not only tell your story but also to help others xx

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