Sergey is 27 years old and is from Perm in Russia. In 2001, he saw an advert in a local newspaper for a job agency. They were looking for construction workers to work in Spain. The salary offered was US$1,200 per month. This was much more than his monthly salary of just $200 and more than he could ever hope to earn in Perm. He applied to the agency who booked his plane ticket to Madrid. They said he would need to pay back the money for the ticket when he started work.

When he arrived in Spain, Sergey was picked up by a person from the “agency” who took his passport. He was taken to Portugal and forced to work on a construction site without pay for several months. The site was surrounded by barbed wire. Without his passport he was afraid that the Portuguese authorities would arrest him. One day Sergey managed to escape and begged his way to Germany. Because he did not have a passport the German authorities arrested him. He says that the police beat him and took away what little money he had. Then they sent him back to Russia.

Now back home, Sergey is very traumatised by his experience. He suffered psychological problems and for several months was unable to work. He received no counselling or support to help him overcome his ordeal. Meanwhile his traffickers remain unpunished.