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Trafficked to Birmingham: Mara’s story

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Trafficked to Birmingham: Mara’s story

In this interview with IJM UK’s Social Services and Criminal Justice Liaison Officer, read how she supported Mara* to see four traffickers convicted.

In 2023, three traffickers were convicted for sexually exploiting Mara* in the UK. But one of the traffickers hadn’t just exploited Mara – he’d sexually abused her himself.

Supported by IJM, Mara decided to keep pursuing justice. Her remarkable bravery paid off: in a recent re-trial, the trafficker was given an additional 14-year sentence for rape – bringing his total sentence up to 22 years in a momentous conviction.

Interview with IJM UK’s Social Services and Criminal Justice Liaison Officer

Tell us what you’ve been doing to support Mara:

Every case is different and every victim has different needs. Mara needed practical support like food, clothes and transport. She brought her baby with her so we ensured she had childcare.

English isn’t her first language so we helped her understand the English justice system.

She also needed medical treatment because of the stress of testifying, so we made sure she had everything she needed.

Mara said, ‘I'll come as many times as needed because I'm not scared anymore.’

For me, that was the best moment of the whole case because it showed me that she knew that everyone was on her side.

How did it feel when the rape conviction was announced?

When we got the guilty verdict and the sentence, it was overwhelming.

He was sentenced to a total of 22 years – this is an amazing result! It sends a strong message that traffickers can’t get away with sexual abuse.

Nothing can take away what happened to her, but receiving justice restored Mara’s confidence.

Mara’s attitude about herself has changed a lot. She’s such a bubbly person. She’s a wonderful mum and now she gets to raise her child without fear.

What would you like to say to those who support IJM?

A massive thank you. We couldn’t do this work without you. Justice would not have happened if Mara had not received support.

And by putting these traffickers in prison, we may also have protected other people from being exploited by them.

Your support is helping vulnerable people in their most vulnerable moments.

Donate to IJM's urgent appeal to help more women like Mara now >>

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