Ali is from Bangladesh and grew up with his grandmother as his parents died when he was young. At the age of 13, his grandmother died and he found himself homeless. A man offered to help Ali and said he could take him to England to earn money. Ali didn’t feel he had any choice so agreed to go. When he landed in England, he was taken to a house and made to work for a young family. He had to do everything they said and was not allowed to leave or speak to anyone. Sometimes the father would sexually abuse him and would beat Ali if he tried to refuse. He wanted to leave but had been told if he tried to escape he would be arrested for not having the right papers.
When Ali was 15, he was told by the father that he was now going to move to another house. Ali felt relieved, thinking he would be happier in the next house and might have the chance to escape. He was taken to a new house where 6 other men were living. He was told that he was to work on building sites and once again, was told not to speak to anyone outside the house. For a year, he was made to work on different building sites – sometimes on construction sites, other times on small residential properties where people lived. They would often smile at him and he wished he could speak to them and ask them for help but he knew he couldn’t as he had been told that by his ‘boss’ that nobody would believe him as he was living here illegally. He worked long days and for 7 days a week and still never received any money.
When he was 16 years old, the police raided the house he was living in. He was taken to a police station and tried to explain that he was only 16 but they did not believe him. He was put in an immigration detention centre and stayed there for months. The Home Office thought his whole story was a lie because he couldn’t prove his real age. Eventually, an NGO came to visit Ali and helped him get an immigration solicitor and secure his release. Ali is still awaiting a decision on his asylum application and is scared that he will be returned to Bangladesh.
Case Study Courtesy of The Children’s Society : www.childrenssociety.org.uk