The Hidden Face of Slavery

Bernardine Evaristo

Facebook Profile No 1  

Name:                              Assibit Mani
Gender:                            Female
Date of Birth:                    Unknown   

Current Location               The desert, Niger, Africa
Relationship Status           Master-Slave
Children                            Fourteen  

Education                         None
Work                                  Without pay
Employer                           Master  
Activities                            Work  

Member of                 

Fan of                          

About Me

I was born into slavery and taken away from my mother before I could remember her. My seven children were taken away from me before they could remember me. We have been slaves here for hundreds of years. My job is to look after my master’s cattle and children, to cook, clean for them, and to give myself to him and his two brothers.  

Status Update  

Today one of our men was castrated because he tried run away  

Facebook Profile No 2         

Name                                 Leonardo Fernandes
Gender                               Male  
Date of Birth                       27 May 1979

Current Location                A ranch deep in the north-eastern rainforest Hometown   Bahia, Brazil
Relationship Status            Wife – back home
Children                             Three – back home  

Education                          Until I was 10
Work                                   Without pay
Employer                           Ranch owner  
Activities                            Working to pay off my debt  

Interests                              My wife, my children   

Fan of                           

About Me
When we arrived at the farm they put us in shacks built for 10 people but sleeping 30, and made us wait many weeks before they said, ‘Okay, now you can work’ - for 15 hours a day. We had to buy our own work tools from the rancher’s shop and our own food and drink, at three times the normal price. There are no other shops for nearly a 100 miles so we have no choice. Our ‘debt’ comes out of our salary, with added interest, which means we never get paid. If we refuse to work, we are beaten. Two men who tried to leave were shot dead.   

Status Update   

Today when I complained my boss told me, ‘We do not have beans for workers, but we do have bullets to kill’.                


Facebook Profile No 3         

Name                                   Anandi Gopal
Gender                                 Female  
Date of Birth                         13 January 2004

Current Location                   Salem, Tamil Nadu, India
Hometown                             My village
Relationship Status               My daddy gave me away
Children                                Yes, me  

Education                             None
Work                                      Without pay
Employer                              Factory owner
Activities                               Cleaning the looms 17 hours a day

Interests                                Going back to my village   

Member of                      


About Me
A man paid my parents to buy me. When I arrived he took me to a factory where he put a metal stick in fire and pressed it onto my arm.  When I screamed, he told me that now if I escape they can easily hunt me down. Then I was put to work on the looms. I cough a lot because of the dust and my headache does not go away because it is always so noisy.  At first I was chained to a loom so I could not run away. I used to cry but they burned my legs with cigarettes.

Status Update
I want to go home


Facebook Profile No 4         

Name                                 ‘Lulu’
Gender                              Female  
Date of Birth                      1 October 1995  

Current Location                Harrow, London, England 
Hometown                         Ukraine
Relationship Status            Up to 15 men a day for the past 18 months 
Children                             Three abortions  
Work                                   Without pay
Employer                           One word, three syllables: MA-FI-A  

Activities                            Rape
Interests                             Returning home   

Fan of                                Soap, mouthwash, scalding hot baths
Member of                 

Favourite Song                  ‘How Could this Happen to Me?’ by Simple Plan 

Contact Information            Carrier pigeon? Telepathy? 

About Me
I was promised work as an au pair in London but instead I was taken to a house, locked into a room and raped. Then they gave me drugs and made work me as a prostitute. They say I have to pay off the cost of my travel and living expenses. There are bars at the windows and guards at the doors. I have been here nearly seven months.

Status Update
I have trained my soul to levitate above my body


Facebook Profile No 5         

Name                                  Anonymous
Gender                                Both
Date of Birth                        Oh, way back when  

Current Location                  Europe and America, Asia and the Pacific,Latin America, the Caribbean, Sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa and the Middle East

Hometown                           Yours and Mine

Children                               Millions
Education                            Yes. No. A little
Work                                     In many languages
Employer                             Master-Owner-Boss

Activities                              We are forced to work against our will on threat of violence or death. We are paid nothing or little and we cannot escape 

Interests                               The Abolition of 21st Century Slavery


Fan pages                            Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Frederick Douglass, William Wilberforce, Abraham Lincoln

Favourite Book                     Roots

Favourite Song                    We Shall Overcome

Favourite Quotes                  Article 4, the Human Rights Act ‘Protection against slavery and forced labour: you should not be treated like a slave and subjected to forced labour.’      

About Us 
Some of us are born into slavery because we come from the slave class. Some of us are sold and tricked into slavery by our parents and guardians or kidnapped by slave traders. Some of us are forced into bonded labour through debt that can never be repaid, sometimes for generations. Some of us are forced into marriage against our will. Some of us are forced to work without pay by the state and the military. Some of us are trafficked into sexual slavery. Some of us are child soldiers. Around half of us are children.


Bernardine Evaristo’s seven books of fiction and verse fiction explore aspects of the African diaspora: past, present, lived, travelled, imagined. Two of her novels have been adapted into BBC R4 plays since 2012. She has received several awards and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, the Royal Society of Arts, and she was made an MBE in 2009. Visit

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