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Demand for modern slavery victim support continues to grow reports Salvation Army

22 August 2016 - 10:54am
| by Elly

1,331 people entered the care of The Salvation Army between April 2015 and March 2016 making the total number of victims receiving support during this time over 1,800. This contrasts sharply with the first year that The Salvation Army offered this service for all potential adult victims of human trafficking and modern slavery in England and Wales, which was 378.

The Salvation Army supported 829 (62%) women and 502 (38%) men. There were also six transgender people supported.

44% of people supported by The Salvation Army had been subjected to sexual exploitation and 42% had been exploited for labour. A further 13% were victims of domestic servitude. Over the five years The Salvation Army has been managing this contract the breakdown of types of exploitation has remained mainly consistent.

Albanian remains the nationality from which the highest number of victims are referred to The Salvation Army. Large numbers of people are also trafficked for exploitation from Poland, Nigeria and Vietnam as well as a significant proportion of British citizens who have been trafficked within the UK. Details can be found within the report. 

Anne Read, Director of Anti Trafficking and Modern Slavery for The Salvation Army said:

“The Salvation Army’s commitment to fight the scourge of slavery and human trafficking is as strong today as it was more than 150 years ago when our work started in the East End of London. The fight against slavery continues today in each of the 127 countries in which we work as the need and resources allow.

“In the past year in the UK, demand for support for victims of modern slavery has continued to increase. Through the Modern Slavery Victim Care and Coordination contract, we, and our partner organisations, have adapted our service to support the ever-growing number of people being referred to The Salvation Army from England and Wales.

“To combat modern slavery will require a continuing concerted effort from across society. We need people to keep their eyes and ears open to suspicious activity they encounter in everyday life such as the nailbar or the car wash with unbelievably cheap prices. Everyone from official agencies, frontline workers, Government, NGOs and, importantly, the general public has a part to play in defeating the perpetrators of these crimes and securing the safety and the best outcome for people currently trapped in slave-like conditions – unable to escape and forced to do things against their will.”

<span style=">The Victim Care Contract can provide transport to a place of safety, accommodation in safehouses, where required, and a full range of specialist services to meet the needs of each individual.

In addition The Salvation Army supports people in securing employment, further training or education, as well as preparing them to move into independent housing, supported accommodation or return safely to their home country.

Case study: victim of modern slavery

Now in her mid-thirties, Olivia* comes from a very loving family and is a well-educated woman. After her parents died, Olivia married a man who helped her open a small restaurant. After only two years of marriage, Olivia’s husband died and, as his family couldn’t contribute, she found that the cost of the burial took all her money and she was forced to shut down her business and move in with a church friend.

In 2013 another of Olivia’s friends introduced her to a woman called Beth, who lived in the UK. She told Olivia that she needed someone to come and work for her to help with childcare and household duties. Because of her financial situation, Olivia accepted the job. As soon as she arrived in the UK Olivia was transferred to Beth’s house where she was locked inside and was forced to work extremely long hours, doing the cooking and cleaning for the whole family. Both Beth and her husband constantly hit Olivia, gave her nowhere to sleep in the house, and only allowed her to eat fruit and water. After six months, Olivia found an opportunity to escape when Beth dropped her at the hairdresser’s, and told her to walk home.

The hairdresser took pity on her and let her stay with her for a while before introducing Olivia to another family wanting domestic support. Olivia hoped things would be different this time but once again she was forced to work long hours with little food or rest. This time the family abandoned Olivia when they moved to America, leaving her destitute on the streets of London. Olivia turned to her church for help and outlined her situation. She was taken to a charity for support and then referred to The Salvation Army who moved her into a safe house. Here she received food and accommodation as well as access to legal support and help with training and education so she could start to support herself.

Victims seeking help have been trafficked to or within England and Wales and are referred to the service through a dedicated referral line 0300 303 8151 available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 

To read the full report, click here. 

*Not Olivia’s real name.

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