The reason I am here is because of a mistake in identity. And, well, the HO had me mistaken with someone else and the because of that I have been detained for 9 months. They tried to deport me once to Mauritius, because the document wasn’t right the airport wouldn’t put me on the plane. Then the Mauritian embassy said the HO cannot use that document any more because they don’t believe I am from there country. I am telling the HO for 1,5 years that my name is different, the reason why I haven’t said it before, unfortunately I went in prison, I do admit I made a mistake, I went on with the wrong crowd, when I realised things were not right, and tried to get out there were starting to threaten me, and threaten my partner. And my good friends, they were trying to find out where I live and make lots of threats. I got hit a couple of times, it was quite severe. In the end, I plead guilty. I kind of, I was the only one whose gone to prison. So then, because that, I couldn’t tell anyone, I couldn’t even defend myself. I became clinically depressed, my anorexia kicked in again and I was sectioned. All that pressure. And I was in the psychiatric ward, it became too much. But, so that is the reason why at the time , I told them, I always told them all the way, that I have never said that I am that Mauritian women. It has nothing to do with me, the document was found, but it doesn’t even have my picture. They couldn’t found out who I was , so they said I am that woman. I didn’t know what to do. To an extent I accept that responsibility, it became a nightmare, it is also partly my fault. If I had said it at the time, but then either I get hurt or people I love get hurt, I had to chose and I chose to protect people that I love. But now it created a lot of confusion and a lot of issues, but still I had , I
have a biological sister in Liberia, we were estranged for quite some time, more than 12 years we have got back together, my friend found here. We got back talking. When all of this happened she started helping me to get my documents together. I left Liberia at the age of 7, I was adopted by a British family. I don’t think I was legally adopted, I mean that was the 70s in Liberia, you could just take children, I was an orphan. My biological mum died, and I was left with no one. My sisters dad didn’t want to take me on. What I became after was not good, they were homophobic. They were diplomats so I moved around with them. I had 4 other siblings, all adopted from African backgrounds. I got a good education. That’s all I know about my biological side, and my sister doesn’t know much either. I was too young.
When my adopted family, when I was 16, we were posted to Morocco. I sent a letter to another female, how I felt and it was intercepted by one of the nannies and I got beaten. It was very regimental, very strict, we were home schooled. The beating were proper beatings, like awful punishment. I couldn’t move, it was a nightmare. So when I turned 18 a friend of mine from Sierra Leone to run away from them. We went to South Africa and he got me a job there. For a couple of years and then things started to be a bit better, I still had severe nightmares. But then he said they are getting closer and they will find me, and I was told that I belong to them, I was adopted and they give me anything, I am just an object.
It was an outrage, they said I was not a normality, I was defective, they said its not normal to like women, it doesn’t make sense. When he said they are getting closer, he said we better run away. Then we ran away to Kenya. They were British. We never saw the documents, where we used to go. But they never brought us to Britain, so that’s why I got to think why I was not legally adopted, because we never came here.
My friend said he knew someone who help people to cross over, so this is what we have done. I was working, in a call centre and stuff like that. I had to give some money to my friend who was helping me, to pay the agent. It took a couple of years to cross and come over here. And in between I was abused by that agent and it got on me really bad. I just tried to pretend it didn’t happen and brush it off. So when I get ill, it gets really to me. I just get on with things and then throughout the years I got a really anxious person, that is connected to the food disorder, I get really anxious and cant eat and get really depressed and its that sort of cycle that I cant break. I never got any help for what I went through. All the nightmares I get, they get worse when I am unwell. I can deal with things.
I came over here we landed in Dover, we drove. Through France. The agent gave me to someone else and was like, and there was another female. We had to go with that guy. I don’t want to mention his name, because I think he still lives in White City, and I don’t want to get in trouble. He took us to his place and I got a so called job, a topless bar in Soho . Thats pretty much my life, I was abused many times, we had part of it, there was nowhere to go, we were new in the country. So we where there for some time, we made a couple of friends, one friend she helped us to get away from it.
We were new in the country, so we had nowhere to go. My friend never said I should claim asylum, but that is what I should have done at the time, but we were never guided, we were underground and we had to be careful. You found a job and you worked cash in hand, someone says you are a hard worker and that’s how I lived for 20 years. I worked at a florist shop, I was in shared accommodation, it went on like that. I worked for a Launderette some time. It was different back then. I met some nice people that I am still friends with today.
Then only this one group. In the beginning he was kind of okay, only until a couple of years later. Over here I had a couple of female partners, before I got with this guy. I went out with A for a couple of years, we lived together. I had unresolved issues of the past and I found it difficult to speak to her about it and it was still hurting me. So, I had couple of female partners. It wasn’t until a few years later, we were going out and you know, for 2,5 years. I met D in 2001, a few months later we had a sling. When I left S, then I was with him. I was in a good place, he liked me. I got a job, he helped me. I felt lucky, he didn’t ask me for any document, I never thought anything was wrong. So it kind of, you know. So many things happened in my life.
I found it quite difficult, when I realised things were not right with this lot, he knew a lot of people, he had people in the police, I had no way, even if I wanted to go to the authorities. I didn’t know what to do, I wanted to protect him. He didn’t know something was wrong, and I distanced myself from other friends, because I didn’t want them to get into trouble. It became an absolute nightmare and no where I am today. I got arrested, I became ill, I got a hefty sentence. There was a lack of defence, I wasn’t well. The anxiety was at a a high level, I was at a very dark place. I didn’t know what to do. He had contacts with the police force, so then I thought where do I go? I couldn’t even go to the authorities. Where I was at I was vulnerable, and I didn’t know what to do. And then it all happened, once I got to the half of my sentence I got moved to Yarl’s Wood and they tried to deport me. All the solicitors , all the accountants everyone got away, it was all on my shoulders. His contacts are helping it, it was all put on my shoulders. If things get resolved, everyone reading the story, they will think its not possible for all this lot to get away. But I plead guilty, so there was no way out, I had no choice. Even the solicitors after, they said they cannot believe I pleaded guilty that this was the possibility, and yet it happened. It was too late and my credibility was gone and they would all hide behind my guilty plead. You could see that I couldn’t have done that alone, but unfortunately it happened the way it happened.
People need to know about detention, I think no one should be in detention. This is not a nice place, people are treated like numbers, the healthcare is crap, this is like a prison. Its really crap. You haven’t got any, you know, people are tricked. They try to trick people to do things they don’t want to do. A lot of the women here don’t understand what the officers are saying, many here don’t speak English well, so they use that against them. They scare them, and say that not right your case, they trick them to get sectioned. They do dirty tricks. They are just moppets of the home office, that is what goes on. My personal experience, you have no access to social media, we don’t have access to sites like yours, things that could help detainees, that is limited. I cant access it. We don’t have access to Free Movement, so many pages, we cant see the case law, cases to do with detention or immigration , we cant use face book, it makes it more difficult to communicate with people on the outside. It is an absolute disaster, the food is bad I am not catered for, it is all stodgy.
There is no care here, it is run by G4S and they are run by the HO. They don’t think about peoples health, I filed numerous complaints. My own solicitors, they had a look at all my medical records and said this is an outrage . I am not being treated that what I have been diagnosed with in the past, only for a few weeks I have been treated for illness in my stomach. I cannot eat at all, food repulses me, they give me a cocktail of medication, all in all 600 calories. I feel weak, I still drink, years when I was sectioned, I couldn’t drink then. Now I can drink, I am still down and its not easy. Its a big effort. My foot is swollen, I have pins and needles. Now they are telling me I have to wait for 4 days to see a doctor. I cant walk, I don’t know what they are waiting for.
There is no duty of care in the detention system, really really not good. For someone like me that they cannot deport, why am I still here? Why do they play that game that they give me a monthly report, its some kind of game, I don’t know. Absolutely out of order. If you got a bail hearing coming up, even if they know they cant put you on a plane, they give you tickets.