Last week, we collaborated with Croydon Community Against Trafficking (CCAT) for a special event to raise awareness of trafficking and modern slavery.  I wrote and shared a poem, created especially for the event, which I am sharing below in the lead up to Tuesday’s Poetic Insight.  It is called Trapped.

He thought he’d get his hands on all he’d dreamed of,
No longer ashamed of his appearance
He’d look prestige.
Decked out in Air Force, Levi’s and North Face
no one would dare to make him feel small again.
They promised,
promised him money and all the name brands in the world;
Promises never destined to come true,
Their words as empty as cardboard boxes without shoes.
Promises like a warm embrace, enticing and drawing him in,
soon twisting into headlock
keeping him terrified and submissive to their demands,
Cannabis forced to be transported and sold by his small hands.
Moved into a house, far from safe,
Decay and destruction all around –
Instead of flashy clothes on his back, he’s clothed in dirty rags.
But how can he leave, there’s nowhere he calls home
and they vowed to kill him if he ever tried to run.
Maybe one day, he’ll make them enough money to finally get everything he dreamed of…
he thinks.

She thought she was leaving for a job,
Walking through an open door that would supply her with money to support her family –
It was all she ever wanted, never to see them hungry again.
They sold her an opportunity,
sounding good enough but not too good to be true
so she put her trust in them, only to find too good to be true was just what it was.
Falsely sold, she was repaid with brutality,
the open door locked shut behind her
sealing off access to normality and family.
Everyday subjected to violence,
forced to endure abuse she could never have imagined,
Losing count of the faces she comes across day to day
eventually morphing into one and the same.
She wants to escape, but how can she run away?
Her family is being fed – as least that’s what they said –
and they vowed to kill her if she ever tried to run.
Maybe one day, she’ll be set free and finally get the job she desperately wanted…
she thinks.

Shaniqua Benjamin

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