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Escaping modern-day slavery: spine-chilling stories of survivors of human trafficking

After the meeting of the "Santa Marta Groupâ? in the Vatican, two victims of human trafficking who were invited to the summit share their spine-chilling story, one they hope that will raise awareness on an issue that plagues the world, even if it doesn't make the headlines every day.  Al Bangura is from Sierra Leone, and he traveled to the United Kingdom after he was promised a career in top-tier soccer.  AL BANGURA Victim of human trafficking "Basically, I'm in the room waiting to know whether, if I'm going to go there, or to a club, and all these things, and all of a sudden, three guys come to me, started trying to do stuff to me, rape me, fighting for me, all these things. That's when I start feeling trauma, that's when I start getting so nervous... And I managed to make my way out. For the whole month I was so stressed, and depressed, because I'm thinking, I can't get in touch with my parents, I don't know anyone here, I was cold, I was really young, I couldn't even speak better English at that time. It was really stressful for me, so I was really down, just traumatized.â? Al Bangura managed to get back on his feet, and he even fulfilled his dream of becoming a soccer player in the United Kingdom.  He had the chance to share his experience with human trafficking with the pope, who is very sensitive to this issue.  AL BANGURA Victim of human trafficking "The pope cannot speak English, right? But Mr. Vincent (Cardinal Nichols) can speak Spanish, so he translated for the pope, and told him: 'This is Al Bangura, he is one of the trafficking victims, and the pope held my hand, and he was smiling to me, really happy, and I was so blessed and grateful for that.â? Princess Inyang is From Nigeria. In her homeland, she was a cook, and she came to Europe under the promise of a cooking job. It turned out to be a smokescreen for a prostitution ring. She thinks that the problem of human trafficking has a lot to do with poverty, so a deeper change is necessary. PRINCESS INYANG Victim of human trafficking "The most important problem that we are facing is poverty, poverty that one could not even eat three times a day. And if the traffickers saw that your family is poor, they will now use that to trick you. Their parents are sick, on sick bay... If there is no money to treat the family, they will convince the youth, they will say: 'Leave, come, within two weeks you will get money, you send back to your family, but it is nuts, because in two weeks they won't have even arrived in Libya. Most of the stories I wrote on my organization... When they left, before they could even arrive in Libya, their parents were dead.â?  Al Bangura and Princess Inyang were lucky enough to escape trafficking, but there are many thousands that are still trapped by these networks. That is why these two survivors travel the world, trying to make people aware of one of the greatest humanitarian tragedies of our time.  AG/JRB MG -SV -PR Up:MB