Afraid for his safety after his father was imprisoned in Egypt for supporting the Muslim Brotherhood, Seth agreed to take a boat to Italy and made his way to the UK where he worked in construction, unpaid, for 18 months. A doctor’s referral was the lifeline Seth needed and he is now in safe accommodation with medical, legal, interpretation and mental health support.
Seth comes from a big family in Egypt. His mother died in 2014 and his father was imprisoned the same year when the new president came into power after the coup. Seth’s sisters already had their own families and his brothers were traveling, so when he graduated high school he felt he had no one to help him.
Seth was afraid the Government would beat him or put him in prison because of his connection to his father. A man who knew his father decided to help him, saying it was too dangerous for him to stay in Egypt if he did not pay anybody.
“That man had connections. He knew people and he helped me to get on the boat. I spent 11 days on the boat until we arrived to Italy,” he said.
After four days in Italy, Seth boarded a train to France. He was sent back to Italy twice because he had no valid tickets or ID, but eventually reached Paris and Calais jumping on and off trains without either.
He travelled from Calais to England in the back of a refrigerated lorry with five others. On arriving in the UK, the lorry was stopped by Police and all five people were detained. Seth spent 20 days in the detention centre before being released to a hotel. He went for a walk, got lost and spent some time on the streets before he met Hussain who also spoke Arabic.
He told Seth the Police would send him back to Egypt and offered a place to live and some work on a construction site. For the next 18 months, Seth moved site to site, was never paid, and instead was offered food, cigarettes and place to stay, often on site.
Seth moved to London and spent around a month on the streets until he went to hospital for pain in his knee and the GP referred him to The Salvation Army.
Through The Salvation Army, Seth is now living in safe accommodation, receiving the care he needs including emergency medical treatment, interpretation support, and access to legal advice and counselling, and is on his journey to an independent life.