A Sir Lankan man has spoken of the horror of being enslaved and sexually abused in Dundee.
In a chilling insight into modern slavery in the city, Asha revealed how he was treated “like an animal” and forced to work in a bed and breakfast for just 33p an hour — while being routinely groped by his tormentor.
Speaking at a press conference held by Migrant Help UK, Asha said the B&B owner had him at his mercy by threatening to expose his sexuality, which is illegal in his home country.
He was forced to work 15 hours a day without time off for £150 a month, he said.
Reliving the sexual abuse, Asha said: “When I was in the kitchen he would be touching me and when he gave me a hug it would be a disgusting feeling because he was rubbing himself on me.
“He was treating me like an animal. I asked him to stop treating me like this and he wouldn’t.”
Asha — not his real name — arrived in the country in 2011 on a domestic worker visa, having fled his homeland because of the street beatings he suffered for being gay.
Asha was given permanent leave to remain in the UK based on the risk of being persecuted in Sri Lanka. Asked how he felt just weeks after winning the right to stay, the 30-year-old said: “I got my life. That is what I’ve been waiting on for 30 years.”
There are up to 13,000 people held in modern slavery in the UK, according to Home Office figures, with dozens of those likely to be living in Tayside and Fife.
Roger McVicker, from Migrant Help UK, which has supported Asha and many others like him, said the violence that characterised the transatlantic slave trade 200 years ago is still present in the modern form.
But he added: “There is now also more subtle ways of coercing people — with blackmail and stigma ù and threats of ‘if you do not do what we tell you, we have videoed, we have photographed you, and we are going to show it to your family’.”
Det Insp Chris Lewis, from Police Scotland’s human trafficking unit, said they have seen an increase in the crime over three years as “sophisticated” Scottish crime groups seek to tap into a $32bn a year industry.