At 10, ‘Stephen’ was taken from Hanoi to London and then spent four years tending plants for a brutal drug gang. Now awaiting news of an appeal against deportation, he recalls his horrific experience – and his lucky escape
Anyone who thinks the business of cannabis cultivation in the UK is a friendly, hippyish occupation, imbued with wholesome organic principles, needs to reflect on the experience of Stephen, a vulnerable Vietnamese orphan who was 10 when he was trafficked to the UK to work as an enslaved cannabis farmer.
Stephen arrived in Britain in the back of a freezer lorry, after a long journey on foot and in trucks from Hanoi, where he had been destitute and homeless. In Britain, he was locked up alone in a series of terraced houses that had been converted into cannabis farms, and forced over the course of four years to work as a cannabis gardener by the Vietnamese gang that had smuggled him here.
Her fine pompadour hairdo is one thing, but the way the Michigan judge has presided over the abuse scandal enveloping US gymnastics is quite another
Who will be 2018’s style icons?
Susan, by email
Judge Rosemarie Aquilina of the 30th Circuit Court for Ingham County. What? Were you expecting some hot, new – picks up old-lady spectacles and looks up – “exciting youth trend” YouTube star, and not a grandmother of two from Michigan? Well, buckle up buttercups, because this is 2018 and we are way past the point of messing around with nonsense. Which is why I am celebrating Judge Aquilina, currently presiding over the sentencing of Larry Nassar, the former US gymnastics team doctor, accused of sexually abusing more than 140 girls and women, including Olympians Simone Biles, Aly Raisman and McKayla Maroney. And yet, this story has gotten astonishingly little coverage outside of the US, especially compared to the Jerry Sandusky scandal of 2011 (in which Sandusky, the assistant football coach at Penn State University, was convicted of sexually abusing young boys). I get that more people are interested in men’s football than gymnastics, but can someone let us know how many female victims you need to make up one male football player so we know what to aim for next time one of these stories comes up? Thanks.
A shelter in Abuja is devoted to rescuing twins from death within remote communities convinced of their evil powers
The room is filled with the cries of 30 or more babies. Steven Olusola visits each cradle, peering into their eyes in search of illness.
“They fall sick often because they never received any breastfeeding,” says Olusola, who founded Vine Heritage Home Foundation with his wife, Chinwe, 13 years ago. This is a sanctuary, for children rescued from one of the most remote areas of Nigeria, where being born a twin can be a death sentence.
Police chief Simon Bailey says even thousands more detectives would not be enough to bring every offender to justice
The police chief in charge of child protection says tens of thousands of British men have shown an interest in sexually abusing children.
Simon Bailey said investigators monitoring a single online chatroom in 2017 identified 4,000 men using it from the UK alone.