More Slave Stories

This article is part of a package on the modern slave trade. For more, read People for Sale and I Was a Slave.

Editor’s note: These slave narratives come from To Plead Our Own Cause: Personal Stories by Today’s Slaves (Cornell University Press, 2008), by Kevin Bales and Zoe Trodd. The modern slave narrative, the authors write, “has emancipatory power as a linguistic weapon of the violated. . . . Now the narrators make themselves subjects of a story instead of objects for sale.”

Achai (Sudan, 1999)
I was at home when the soldiers came. I heard guns and started to run. Everyone else was running too. Some went in this direction, and others went that way. I ran to the forest, but I was caught by two soldiers. I had to walk to the river Kiir and then on to Daein. They made me carry a sack of durra [sorghum] on my head. The journey was about ten days long. I was together with a lot of other girls. The soldiers would take them away for sexual intercourse. The leader of the soldiers, Musa, did this to me. On the way, Musa did not beat me, but he gave me hardly any food. Musa kept me for himself. He called me “Sudan.” He took me to a camp for soldiers near Daein. Musa had a home in Daein town, but he never took me there. I had to stay at his home at the army camp. It was a place where soldiers marched and learned how to prepare their guns and to shoot. There were both Arabs and Dinkas there. I had to do housework for Musa.

I could not leave the camp. Many times each day, he would say that he would shoot me or cut my throat if I tried to escape. I was very sad and couldn’t help crying. He would beat me when he caught me crying. Musa used me as a concubine. I am now about five months pregnant. Musa let me go away with the trader. I think he did this because I was so sad and tearful that he didn’t want me any more. I am a Christian and used to go to church at Nyamlell. One of the catechists named Mario is my friend.

Odeta (Italy, 2005)
I was born in a city in the south of Albania in a very problematic family environment. I am sixteen years old. My father used to drink a lot, and he only worked sporadically. He still faces alcohol problems. He used to be violent when he was drunk and would physically abuse me, my mother, and my brother and sisters. Meanwhile, my mother worked as a garbage collector, but all her salary was appropriated by my father in order to drink and gamble.

About six years ago, my mother decided to leave my father, and she went to Italy illegally. We stayed with our aunt and grandmother. They raised us. Three years after my mother left Albania, she married an Italian man and was able to obtain all the necessary documents. She sent money for us to my aunt in order to help a little bit in our living. During this period of time my grandmother died. After that, I went to live with my father again. He kept beating me regularly. I was expected to take care of my little brother and sisters; the youngest one was only four months old when my mother left. I have never been to school, although I wanted to.

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