Abbie Trayler-Smith

England, Great Britain, UK, UNITED KINGDOM

32 year old Monique from DR Congo spends some of her afternoons sitting in a cafe in North London to keep warm. She had completed three years of a four year course in electrical engineering at a university in Kinshasa when she decided to attend a student demonstration opposing the government. To her horror, she witnessed the murder of her friends by government forces who wanted to put an end to the demonstration. Until then she had led a comfortable life, her father was a doctor and her family placed a great deal of emphasis on education. Monique was later arrested, detained and tortured. Friends helped her flee the country after her release from prison, and she arrived in December 2002, claimed asylum and had her case rejected. In December 2007 her support was cut off and she became destitute. Some nights she has slept in a church in Tottenham, at other times with friends or in the park. "I hate to sleep in the park because it's very dangerous," she says. Nightmares about being forcibly returned to DR Congo plague her. "If they send me back they might as well put me in a coffin-shaped suitcase." Monique was one of an estimated 300,000 rejected asylum seekers living in the UK, but in 2009 she was finally granted leave to remain.

Object Name
Abbie Trayler-Smith
England, Great Britain, UK
Max size
High Resolution
3774 x 2516 pixels
31.95 x 21.3 cm (300 dpi)
12.58 x 8.39 inch (300 dpi)
2.4 MB size on disk
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