Life in Limbo. Trafficked: Siva’s survival story from Sri Lanka to England

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This is a very special episode. EarthRights is with Siva, a human trafficking survivor.

Starting with Siva’s poem about growth and perspective, we spend the episode going through Siva’s 4 year journey from Sri Lanka to the UK, as well as the difficulties that he has faced since arriving and living in the UK. After all he has been through, he was only granted leave to remain in the UK last year!

When Siva left Sri Lanka, at the height of the ethnic conflict in the 1980s, he did not know anything but war. He did not know his age or where his family were, even if they were alive. He was picked up by traffickers, he thinks, at around age 7 or 8 and then sold.

On a container lorry at first, he and 20 others are trafficked to Iran, then to Ethiopia. From there they walk more than 4,000 miles over the period of a year and a half to Douala, Cameroon. During this time he witnesses the death of friends, he lives in constant fear, he is shot at, raped…

After working for a while at a banana plantation in Cameroon, he is flown to France and then to England where his troubles do not cease. He was detained at Brook House Centre near Gatwick Airport, found himself at the mercy of gangs, and has had to, with difficulty and huge sadness, peace together his life story and journey.

Siva’s trauma from experiencing these events is extreme. But, he tells his story calmly and with much reflection. He would like us to listen and learn about what it means to be truly evil so that we do not repeat the actions of his traffickers, the detention officers or anyone else who has hurt him.

His life is still in limbo. Let’s ask the Home Office to grant him citizenship so he is no longer stateless and show him that he belongs. It’s the very least he deserves