'I got into the wrong crowd,

the completely wrong crowd'

Huda's story

Huda's story

'I got into the wrong crowd, the completely wrong crowd'

Huda was sexually assaulted when she was 15 years old. Her family blamed her for the assault, which led to her going missing and being groomed by criminal gangs. Huda was unaware she was being exploited when she was referred to one of our project workers. She now lives back at home and uses her experience to raise awareness of child criminal exploitation.

Loneliness and isolation

Sexually assaulted at 15 years old, Huda faced honour-based abuse from her family who blamed her for the assault. Feeling alone and struggling to cope with depression, Huda tried to take her own life twice.

'Everyone just hated me'

Huda found herself on the streets sleeping under railway bridges and soon fell victim to child criminal exploitation and trafficking, known as 'county lines'. With no home to go back to and no one for support, Huda felt she had no other choice. 

Exploitation and trafficking

During her homelessness, Huda was groomed to pack and carry drugs for criminal gangs. She would be taken away to out-of-town trap houses for weeks at a time. Vulnerable and needing a place to eat and sleep, she became completely dependent on those who were exploiting her. 

'They almost make you feel like you're the one in control, but it's not like that at all'

At her most vulnerable, she met Karl, a man she thought genuinely cared for her, but 'he was just as bed as the rest'. At 16 years old, Huda was homeless, had dropped out of school, and with no family for support, was completely dependent on men who would abuse her and make her pack and carry drugs for criminal organisations. 

We work with young victims of criminal exploitation, giving them someone to trust and working with them to overcome the trauma they have faced. Please donate to help us support more young people like Huda.

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Escaping exploitation

Recognising a need for support, Huda was referred to us by her social worker. We put her in contact with Faye, a therapeutic worker who specialises in child exploitation.

'When we first met, Huda looked traumatised and totally detached from what was going on around her. She was both physically and mentally unwell and very isolated'.

'It was difficult because she wouldn’t know where she was going to be from one day to the next', but Faye and Huda met whenever they could, often for something to eat because 'she was usually hungry'.

Faye gradually created a safe space where Huda could open up. 

'She found it easier to talk to me, as I was independent from her parents and her social workers, and it was only then that she became aware of just how severely she herself was being exploited'. 

Faye helped Huda break free from the cycle of exploitation. Once she was free, she then supported Huda's recovery from trauma.

'Our support is vital, as victims become completely reliant on their abusers and also become both mentally and emotionally isolated'

'Our support is vital, as victims become completely reliant on their abusers and also become both mentally and emotionally isolated'

Support and recovery

With our support, Huda has been free from exploitation for a number of months. She is now living back at home and preparing to attend college next year. 

Faye continues to support Huda with one-to-one sessions, helping her cope with the feelings of depression she still experiences as a result of the trauma she has faced.

'They are children who have been severely exploited, so they need a trusted person and a safe space, so that they can understand that what has happened is not their fault’

Huda is now determined to use her experiences to help others and raise awareness about the various ways in which young women can be targeted and groomed into exploitation. She says 'the thought of girls going through the same thing right now burns my heart, so I would really like to help other people'. To young people who are being exploited, or are at risk of being exploited, she would say:

'You’ve been through one of the toughest things that someone can go through. You can get through anything and don’t let anyone hold you back'

COUNTY LINES RESOURCES AND GUIDANCE

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