We recently received an application asking for a £50 tablet. The story behind it is shocking.
The application arrived and was like many others: A young person needed help having been a victim of Child Sexual Exploitation. However, it was unusual for an application to be for such a low value item, so we asked the Heath Care Worker to clarify with the applicant why she had applied for a tablet only.
Following that email, the Health Care worker contacted us and when I spoke to him on the telephone he was clearly distressed by what he had learnt. The applicant’s response, when asked about the application, was that she has never been given anything for nothing, she has been sexually abused from a young age and she is used to being expected to give something in return for anything she receives. She was frightened to ask someone she has never met for a high value item, and said to her Health Care Worker:
Why would someone who has never met me, give me something for nothing?
This young lady has been trafficked for the purposes of sex by her own family and was even sent to Spain by her family for the same purpose. The young lady managed to get away from the people who were exploiting her in Spain and returned to the UK. Child P returned with no money and, for obvious reasons, no family support.
Fortunately, she is now in a safe accommodation away from her family, but has developed some difficult psychological health issues, which is not uncommon with victims of Child Sexual Exploitation. A decision was made by the Police and Local Authority to move her out of the area where her family live for her own safety, and she was allocated professional assistance for her mental health & psychological requirements.
However, due to COVID-19, the only way she could receive her specialist help was via Zoom or Skype. Astoundingly, although entitled to Health Care Support, she is not entitled to items such as a laptop, which she requires to allow her to access that care and support. We have seen this scenario before, but to us it still beggars belief.
Child P, because of her fears, asked for the cheapest item she could use to access the internet, hence the application for a £50 tablet. She hopes that in the future she will be able to go to college and be able to gain employment and lead a normal life.
As soon as we had all the details, we very quickly had an internal meeting and agreed to supply a mid-range HP Laptop which would both allow her to have her required online Counselling Sessions and would also be suitable for any future college work. The application from the original date of submission, to the delivery of the laptop, we managed in just 9 days. I am proud of not only of the team here at The Samantha Sykes Foundation, but also of the Health Care Worker who made himself available outside office hours, and even took receipt of the laptop at his home address on a weekend, to help us get the young lady supported in a very short time.
As always, without the support of the people who raise money, make donations or sponsor us this would not have been possible.
On behalf of Child P a massive thank you.