Traffic 1

My journey to Bromley from Hammersmith was not that straight forward and it didn’t help that winter had arrived late and it was king cold and snowy.  It didn’t help that the people I was going to see were under mega stress and were desperately trying to keep their family and professional lives operating normally.

They had lost their daughter.  No she wasn’t dead, in fact she was still very much alive only they didn’t know where and even if they did,  it wouldn’t make much difference.

The papers are full of stories of sex trafficking.  Papers like The Daily Torygraph and The Daily Wail usually pump out bilge about Eastern Europeans and foreign johnnies being the ones entirely responsible for the countries ills.  I wonder who did all the naughtiness before these Eastern Europeans landed up.  Here’s another thought who or what did we blame for fuck ups before computers.

I digress.

Mr & Mrs Bromley are a professional, upper middle class English couple but they had experienced the horror of seeing their daughter become a victim of sex trafficking.

Up until a few months before they contacted me their daughter who I will call Sam was a happy 13-year-old who enjoyed doing all the things girls of that age normally enjoy.  In her case Sam was a good dancer and fairly nifty on a horse.  Unlike your author who rides a horse with the same dexterity as a kipper plays golf and you REALLY don’t want to see me dance!

That changed almost over night, Sam that is, not my riding or dancing abilities.

Mrs B poured me a cup of tea and offered me chocolate hobnob. Both she and her husband looked ill.  They were tired and had big bags under their eyes.  If you didn’t know better you would say they both had cancer and were undergoing chemo.

“I am so sorry to bother you, but a friend said you would do your best to help us and that if you couldn’t help you would say so” said Mr B

I nodded

“I have seen your website and heard of some of your jobs and we are just frightened this is too small for you to bother with, but we are desperate!”

“It has been three months of hell,” said Mrs B

“What happened?” I asked

“Well about four or five months ago, Sam came home one night and said she had a boyfriend.  Well of course we assumed it was a boy from school. She didn’t say too much and you know how girls can be at that age, so you know we asked a few discreet questions so as to seem interested but not pushy.”

“Nothing too intrusive” added Mr B

Mrs B continued “We were quite pleased as she got more confident and outgoing, which was good because she was a little immature.  She had been bullied a bit at school, nothing really serious more heavy teasing, but she had been a bit, how can I put it, withdrawn.  Maybe that’s too strong, timid would be better, and we just thought she had she’d got some “Street cred” having a boyfriend.”  she did the quotation thingy with her fingers.  Gawd that gets right on my tits.

“Then shortly afterwards she came home and said she had another boyfriend.  I said something like “Oh did you split up with the first boy” and she sneered at me and said “Noooah what’s it to you anyway”. I was stunned.  Sam had never spoken to us like that and her whole demeanour had changed.”

“How do you mean?”

“Well, she was like that Vicky Pollard on television for a start and she had stopped showering ever day, but kids do that and I thought she was coming home later.  I didn’t know for sure because we don’t get home till about 6, but I always ring at about 4 just to see how the day has gone.  She would always be in, but she had not answered and when I had asked her where she was or what she was doing she had snapped at me saying I had rung off too quickly or she had not been able to get to the phone.  I actually asked her why she couldn’t get to the phone and she shouted at me ” Cos I was having a shit if you really must know”.  That was bad enough but later that evening I went into the toilet and she had… well… you know”

Yep I knew

“And I know my daughter and she goes once a day.  I knew she had been lying” persisted Mrs B just in case I wasn’t on the right track.  I can’t help looking more stupid than I really am.

Mr B chipped in “It was at this time that it really started going wrong.  We started getting phone calls at odd hours, which to start with we thought were wrong numbers and then cars started parking outside the house with men in them.  These were men not boys and they just sat outside and then she started missing school.  It has gone rapidly down hill from there.”

Mrs B started to cry and her husband put his arm round her. “Soon after meeting her second “boyfriend”, Sam started going missing for longer periods during the day.  Then she started staying out overnight. She would come home smelling of Alcohol and was dishevelled.” He said

Mrs B managed to whisper through her tears “Every night we thought she was going to turn up dead. At times, we really didn’t think we would get her back.”

“Where is she now, do you know?” I asked tentatively.

They shook their heads Mr B managed to say “Not for certain”

I sat there like a big lemon watching two people hearts breaking. I let them regain their composure and after a few minutes started the painful business of dragging information from them.

“The first boyfriend, you said you thought was someone from school, I take it from that remark he wasn’t from school.”

Mrs B shook her head “He was called Gavin and is about 19 or 20”

“And the second boyfriend?”

“Danny.  He is 20 and drives a Renault 21 car.  We have the registration” she passed me a bit of paper with the number on.

“Any descriptions?”

“They are both white and I think Gavin is quite tall and thin with a freckled face.  Danny is about 5 foot 10 slightly stocky, sandy coloured her and a cocky sneery grin.  They are both quite trendy dressers and as I said Danny has a dark metallic blue Renault 21.

“How did she meet these blokes then?”

“At school, I have found out that young men hang round outside schools waiting to pick up girls.  It happens all over the place the girls were attracted to them and genuinely think they are boyfriends.”

“What else do you know about them?”

Mr B shook his head and looked dejected ” Not a lot.  Even before she became really difficult, any time we would raise the boyfriend issue she would fly off the handle.  And when she started staying out every time we tried to question her about it she got angry and aggressive and said she was “chillin wid er mates”. I later found out she’d been drinking with these men and they’d been having sex with her.”

“Did she tell you that?”

Mrs B shook her head and her face contorted and the sobs came from way down.  She gasped and cried and then said in very fragmented sentences which I don’t think I can properly capture here ” She…came home and was drunk…..she went into her room… and was falling over…..I heard her being sick in her bedroom and I went into help her and see if she was all right…(big big sobs) she was…..she was …lying flat on her back…..(big sobs) her skirt was up round her waist and her ….her …..va.. va. vagina was…. all red and swollen aaaannnnd  she was leaking ….and…. and… and …I could smell …….I could smell…..sperm….she was leaking sperm (sob sob sob) lots of sperm”  That was it she was done in and I cant say I blamed her.

Mr B was only a little better but at least he could speak “I would lie awake at night and a car horn would go outside at one in the morning and she would just go. One time, another girl actually called for her well past midnight while the men waited in the car outside. I tried to follow to find out where they were going but they spotted me. By the time I got home someone had put a brick through the rear window of my wife’s car. ”

“so there is more than one lot of blokes” I said

“How do you mean?” said MrB

“Well if you followed the Renault and your wife’s car was damaged at the same time the men in the Renault can’t be in two places at once can they?” I said

“No I suppose not I hadn’t thought about that.  Its obvious really but I know I am not thinking straight”

“Did you report this to the police?”

“Oh yes we told the police all about it before the damage.  They came round the night the car was damaged and were sympathetic, but they said there was no evidence to prove it was these “boyfriends.”

“Didn’t they do anything about the under age sex?” I asked

“The police said she had gone with the men of their own volition and that there was no evidence that the men they were with now were responsible for having sex with her before.  The other thing was they didn’t know where they were.”

“That was useful then” I said rather sarcastically. “I don’t know why they bothered turning up”

“Well actually some good came of it” said Mr B “And I can’t be sure they weren’t being more helpful than they seemed”

“How’s that then?” I asked

“Well you see they did a check on the registration number of the car.  When they had gone there was ascribbled note on a piece of blank paper which just said Renault 21 Daniel Smith and gave the address of Baxxxxy Road SE6.  I know that is confidential information do you think we should use it?”

I wanted to shout “Use it! of course we should friggin use it, what the fuck do you think I am going to do with it? send it to my Gran for Christmas”  I didn’t say that of course because the poor bloke was under stress but I knew somebody in SE6 who was about to be fucking stressed and very soon if I had anything to do with it.

“Catford, not a million miles away.  You’re not going to use that information I am” is what I actually said. “Of course this young man may not be implicated in these recent events, but I am sure if he knows anything he will be more than happy to tell us.  People are pretty good like that”  I didn’t add the bit about how if they weren’t willing to chat we would “persuade them”, but I think maybe they guessed that bit.

“Does that mean you will help us?”

“There was never any doubt that I would try to help you Mrs B, the only question was how easy it would be to track them down and get Sam back home, but I think we have just been handed a very nice short cut.”  I said.

They smiled and started thanking me.  I held my hand up and stopped them.  “Look let me be honest here, I don’t intend to sit round on this and will do whatever is necessary to get your daughter back, but having got her back is only half the problem.  She will need support and care. I have heard of some organisations but will need to look into that aspect.”

“Is there anything we can do to help?” said Mrs B looking a lot happier.

“Indeed there is, do you think I could have another cup of tea and a hobnob please whilst I ring an associate to get a few things sorted out”

One Response to “Traffic 1”

  1. dl says:

    Another compelling saga kicking off. It’s the human element of your stories that makes them such a must-read.

    Cheers,
    D.

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