#HerStory is an anti-modern slavery campaign to raise awareness of the prevalence of modern slavery, shed light on the impact it has on women and girls in particular, and amplify the voice of female survivors. This is Ruby’s story.

My name is Ruby. I am 37 years old, Nigerian. I am a fashion designer and came to Ghana to be a seamstress. I got married when I was 16 years old, I have three children under 10 and was forced to leave them behind in Nigeria. My partner mistreated me and kicked me out of the house. I had nowhere to go, so I stayed with a neighbour who told me her daughter lived in Ghana and could help me find a job as a seamstress. She showed me pictures of her ‘daughter’ on social media illustrating a good life. I was happy and accepted the offer.

I travelled to Ghana on a bus with men and I was the only woman on board. We left at night and arrived in Ghana the following day. When I arrived, my neighbour’s ‘daughter’ picked me up and took me to a hotel, and I was forced into prostitution. The lady was violent and frequently physically abusive. I was paid between GHC500 – 1500 (£33-100) daily. There were other Nigerian and Ghanaian women in the brothel.

A young girl from the community saved me by helping me escape.

She gave me some clothes to change into because I was wearing the clothes my trafficker provided. She took me to a house in a new town, and while I was there, I got pregnant and had a baby. The place was dangerous, so I left and slept on the street with my newborn. To support myself and my baby, I began hawking and selling drinking water on the street. Along the road, a lady from the social welfare department found me. They reported the case to the police. The social welfare department found me a safe home at a shelter supported by ActionAid.  I am happy here, I no longer worry about food or shelter. I would like to return to Nigeria and be reunited with my three children.

ActionAid supported Ruby’s repatriation. She has since returned to Nigeria and has been reunited with her family.

Disclaimer: We have used a pseudonym to protect the identity of the survivor. This post is a part of ActionAid International’s anti-modern slavery campaign #HerStory.

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