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Biography: general, Memoirs, Prose: non-fiction

A fascinating journey of abuse, love, friendship and slavery.

Brought up in a stiflingly traditional Muslim household in England, where the rules are enforced by violent punishments, Saira is watched 24 hours a day. Cut off from modern life, chaperoned to and from school, she is forbidden to have western friends. When an innocent friendship with a boy flourishes, one of Saira's brothers finds out and she is put on the first plane to Lahore, punished for dishonouring the family.

There the nightmare really begins - Saira is forced to marry a stranger who makes it clear that all he wants from her is sex and a visa. After a hair-raising escape back to England, she eventually returns to the family home, but as a virtual slave. Refusing to be beaten, she escapes once more, but with her parents in financial trouble and with one of her brothers running up huge drug debts, Saira is forced to earn money the only way she can: by selling her body.

Wracked with shame and guilt at having fallen into prostitution, Saira hits rock bottom, marries again and has a daughter who is the light of her life. Her husband, however, reveals himself to be a brutally violent bully. After one beating too many, Saira flees with her baby daughter and sets about the harrowing ordeal of re-building their shattered lives.

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