Illustration by Leonard Cools
www.leonardcools.be

The second in a series of posts that portray the complex journeys of individual asylum seekers that are too easily overlooked in the public debate. 

This instalment of Asylum stories brings you the story of A, a young person from Thailand who like so many others faced the unfortunate fate of being a victim of trafficking. A is transgender and HIV positive and was trafficked to the UK, where upon arrival was forced into prostitution to pay off debts to the trafficking company – an intricate world of exploitation and difficulty that ties people into its web.

A police investigation was launched and A was recognised as a victim of trafficking by a large operation that had also trafficked several other young people. A was able to claim asylum, basing the claim on the grounds of being at risk of re-trafficking and furthermore because of being particularly vulnerable as a result of being transgender and HIV positive. If upon return to Thailand A was found and captured by the traffickers, A would be forced to pay back money and would be brought back into the difficult to escape trafficking circle.

Combining publicly available information such as government reports, academic sources and media pieces with newly generated sources such as expert interviews, Asylos’s research report was able to highlight a number of important points to support A’s claim. From legal background such as the fact that there is no legal recognition for trans people in Thailand, to more contextual information such as the way a trans person may be more vulnerable to trafficking and the health risks they would face. The report presented evidence that meant that it was evident that despite the efforts that Thailand’s authorities had invested in trying to prevent trafficking corruption meant that it was still happening and that people like A were significantly at risk.

A’s legal representative was able to use the information provided by Asylos and combine it to create a case that meant A was granted asylum status in the UK.