Apr 6th, 2018
Stephen: Open Letter
By Becca McCarthy
‘Stephen’s’ safety and future is hanging in the balance.  He was trafficked to the UK from Vietnam, and forced to work for years as a slave. He was shut in darkness and faced regular beatings. All at the age of 10.
Luckily, he was rescued by the police, fostered by a local vicar and started a new life. But now he’s turning eighteen, the Home Office want to deport him. And next week, a court will decide whether he should be allowed to stay in the country he loves and calls home, or be sent back to Vietnam, where he simply isn’t safe. 
Thousands of us have put the Home Office under pressure to save Stephen and it’s beginning to work, but time’s running out.  Now imagine Amber Rudd, the minister in charge, opening her morning paper and seeing an open letter signed by hundreds of thousands of us, alongside MPs and other important figures. It could be enough to get her to let Stephen stay.
But it’ll only work if enough of us sign the open letter. So will you take one minute to add your name now? It could be enough to keep Stephen safe in the UK.
Our pressure is already working. More than 120,000 38 Degrees-ers signed a petition demanding that Stephen be allowed to stay.  Our voices had an impact. Stephen’s MP stood up in Parliament and asked the government to intervene in his case. And the Home Office delayed Stephen’s court case to look at “new evidence”. 
Stephen’s story is one full of suffering and bravery. Aged 10 and an orphan he was targeted by a trafficking gang who smuggled him to the UK to work as a slave.  Three years after his rescue, his life has completely transformed. Stephen now has a loving foster family. He goes to college and dreams of becoming a chef.
PS: You can watch the exchange between Stephen’s MP Helen Goodman and Theresa May at Prime Minister Questions here: https://38d.gs/watch-the-exchange-here
 Stephen’s name has been changed to protect his anonymity.
 The Guardian: Home Office accused of cruelty for ordering cannabis slave back to Vietnam:
The Guardian: Child slavery victim to plead to stay in UK with support of thousands:
The Independent: Home Office urged to reverse ‘grotesque’ decision to send child slavery victim back to country he was trafficked from:
 38 Degrees: Petition hand in for “Stephen”:
38 Degrees: Demonstration at the Home Office for “Stephen”:
Campaigns By You, 38 Degrees: Allow trafficked teen ‘Stephen’ to stay in UK:
 Facebook: Helen Goodman, Bishop Auckland Constituency:
 The Guardian: Trafficked, beaten, enslaved: the life of a Vietnamese cannabis farmer: