Caller who illegally arrived in UK wedged between train carriages shares story with LBC

12 July 2022, 11:25 | Updated: 12 July 2022, 11:54

British Olympian Sir Mo Farah shared his story of being trafficked to the UK as a child
British Olympian Sir Mo Farah shared his story of being trafficked to the UK as a child. Picture: Alamy

By Seán Hickey

This caller, who is due to get his British citizenship on Wednesday morning, shares the perilous journey he set out on to reach the UK.

British Olympic legend Sir Mo Farah reveals in an upcoming documentary that he was trafficked to the UK as a child, where he effectively became a slave to a family until the age of 12.

Sir Mo's harrowing account led Tom Swarbrick to call for LBC listeners to share their own experiences of arriving in the UK from abroad using illegal methods.

Read more: Mo Farah reveals he was illegally trafficked to UK from Somalia as a child

John is a Moldovan migrant that arrived in the UK in December 2003. "I came illegally of course...for six years I lived here with no documents" he admitted.

The caller worked in construction upon his arrival in the country, telling Tom that he would frequently hang around industrial estates waiting for builders to come and offer him work.

He highlighted how dangerous his position became, stating that "seven or eight times I had been working and they didn't pay us."

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"Of course we'd keep quiet...and find work somewhere else" he said, pointing out that "because you're illegal of course, you're afraid of the police."

Tom was surprised when the caller told him he has his citizenship ceremony in Hillingdon on Wednesday.

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When asked again whether his arrival in the UK was illegal, the caller defended himself: "I mean we were young, we wanted to explore, we didn't think it was so serious, you know?"

"It wasn't a backpacking trip!" Tom replied, asking "were you coming here specifically to earn more money than you would in Moldova?"

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"Yeah, exactly" John admitted. "After the soviet collapse, things were really hard over there" he added, telling LBC listeners that he came from a big family and sent money back to them in Moldova.

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"I got in with Eurostar between carriages from Gare Du Nord to Waterloo," he said, to Tom's disbelief.

"You stood in the gap between two carriages of the train as it made its way under the Channel?!"

"Exactly, sir. There, there is a very big cable so you cannot fall off. It's a nice place to stay. I was very afraid, of course, but this was the only way in those days."

On the eve of earning his British citizenship, John was reflecting on how he sees countless Romanian and Moldovan men in the same position as he was 19 years ago, standing outside industrial estates, running the risk of being scammed.

Asked for his opinion of people illegally in the UK searching for work, the caller concluded by telling Tom: "Because I nearly have my British passport in my pocket, I could say differently.

"But you don't know what's going on in someone's life."

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