A former England boxer, Kelvin Fawaz, who was trafficked from Nigeria as a child and forced into domestic servitude, has won the right to remain in the United Kingdom after a 16-year legal battle.
The 32-year-old was granted the right to live and work in Britain for 30 months.
He had been in detention centres for months when the government attempted to deport him to Nigeria where he is not recognised as a citizen.
“The decision means that I am free, that I can have a family, I can start a life,” Fawaz told the Thomson Reuters Foundation, Daily Mail reports.
The light-middleweight champion has fought for England about six times.
“I don’t have to worry about unwarranted arrest and being taken to a detention centre,” said Fawaz, whose parents were from Lebanon and Benin.
Fawaz was brought to Britain aged 14 under the pretence of meeting his father, his lawyers said.
He was forced to become a domestic worker, beaten and prevented from leaving the house.
Following an escape, he was taken into local authority care, and was granted the right to remain in the country until the age of 18.
The Home Office has denied him multiple applications to stay on as an adult.
Fawaz’s lawyers said his convictions for crimes including drug and driving offences, happened as a result of “trying to ‘fit in’ with other boys his age”.
The boxer attempted to represent Britain twice in the Olympics but could not attend because of his immigration status.
Fawaz said now that he has the right to stay in the UK, he looked forward to competing professionally and winning more titles.
“After 16 years, all of a sudden, within one phone call everything changed. It’s crazy. Now I have to knuckle down, I need to hit the ground running,” he said.