The French find it hard to believe. And yet! Within their borders, people hold others in slavery by taking advantage of their misery, their fragility. Sexual and domestic slavery: associations exist, lawyers fight to support the victims and sometimes break the impunity of people
Originally from Benin, the young woman has been in France for 7 years. A story that starts rather well: “Holder of a sewing diploma, I worked for 4 years in Cotonou for a family of expatriates in order to earn enough to open a workshop. When they left, I found myself without a job. One day, a lady told my grandmother that her Beninese daughter residing in France was looking for someone for her husband's clothing salon. “The opportunity is too good! Gaëlle packs her suitcase, the employer pays for the plane and the visa, and here is the young woman on her way. On arrival, no sewing, but "laundry, meals, cleaning, children ... I had to take care of everything in the house without receiving any salary".
Without being able to contact his family or go back: “My boss had confiscated my passport and my return ticket. She said she had opened an account for me in Benin, but that was not true. Having no room, I had set up a small corner in an unused bathroom. I found out later that I was the 27th person she was using." It was, however, a wealthy family. These people don't respect anything; they think that money buys everything, fixes everything “The husband? he knew, but did not interfere. Neighbors ? We lived in a very isolated village whose inhabitants were not used to people of color. The approach was difficult” Despite everything, Gaëlle manages to explain her situation to the local leader of Jehovah’s Witnesses, of which the shrew is a part: “This lady insisted that I take a position at the Town Hall; I had to end up telling him that I was not the sister of the owner, as she claimed, but her slave, deprived of all papers and all freedom! The congregation called on her to let me go. " End of the story ? Not really ! “She sold me to a hairdresser she knew for €1,200”. And here is Gaëlle in the Paris region, still without a passport but with 50 euros per month. It's off again for a round of laundry, cleaning, cooking ... until the day she decides to flee despite the fear. “Every day, you are told that if you leave, you will go to prison”. She finds refuge with a former employee of the hairdresser. “I had told him my story; she found me accommodation, associations to contact”. For Gaëlle, the wheel can finally turn! Regaining your autonomy, building your future: language courses, transport card, mobile phone, residence and work permit: the keys to a new start! “Today I take care of the elderly. I miss sewing, but I love my job! My goal is to obtain my state diploma as a nursing assistant and to break the impunity of slavers: in the country, I had never heard of this kind of practice. Nobody talks about it. Here, I met wonderful people who mobilized, supported me and gave me confidence. The lawyer of the SOS SLAVE Association: Maître Fougeroux obtained from the court a heavy sentence for my executioners: 8 months suspended prison sentence, 18,000 euros in damages – Although this money is very difficult to obtain, significant sums have already been paid to me. I am determined to go all the way. These people have to give up, be afraid, stop thinking they are untouchable. And that on the spot, the girls know that “Europe is not necessarily Eldorado! ".