“This isn’t by any means the way I thought I’d support my family, but my children need to be raised and I’ll do whatever I need to do to see them happy.”
Charlie, (as he is referred to by his clients) works as a childcare assistant, just outside of London. He works to support his wife and two children. The pay is poor and in order to sustain their happiness and financial security, he deals and sells drugs.
Charlie began studying Law at a Russell Group University, but dropped out in order to support his mother full time, who was suffering with Alzheimer’s. Coming from a low-income family, Charlie pinpoints the highlights of his childhood as being the moments in which he spent time with his family; “We sat and ate dinner together every night. It wasn’t often we had time to spend together in the week, but regardless, we knew that whatever stress Dad had been put under at work and whatever struggles Mum had experienced with raising me and my two younger brothers, there would always be food on the table and a roof over our heads.
“Money was always an issue, but as my brothers and I grew older, we learnt that the security of money would never be able to rectify the real troubles in life […] and you never really see them coming.”
Working as a childcare assistant and dealing drugs, Charlie supports his family financially with “little-to-none disposable income” at the end of the week. I spoke to his wife about the affect this has on their family.
“I know it’s wrong. But the moment I gave birth to my first born, I felt reborn. A feeling that cannot be quantified in numbers or words. You would do anything to protect them, to keep them safe, to provide for them. Yes, I know what [Charlie] does is wrong, but only a parent who loves their children as much as he and I do can understand why we have no other option.”
I asked Charlie how he would feel knowing he was sending his children off to childcare, knowing they were being looked after by a drug dealer. He said “There are people in all walks of life that are involved in drugs. You have to separate people and their actions. I believe there are seldom such things as good or bad people, only good or bad actions. A person can perpetuate bad acts but still love and care for things the way a good person may.
“For what it’s worth, my clients trust my produce. It is what it says on the tin, so to speak. These days you find anything mixed in a pill; talcum powder, rice, even cement. People come to me in trust, they get what they need, and so do I.”
Meeting Charlie was a truly eye-opening experience. There were moments where his courage of conviction was alarming; his thought process behind his self-collusion of believing that dealing drugs was okay, was actually very logical.
If there was one thing that was certain however, it was that his love for his children was always at the pinnacle of all his actions.