There are an estimated 136,000 people living on conditions of modern slavery un the United Kingdom (Global Slavery Index 2018). According to the 2017 annual figures provided by the National Crime Agency, 5, 145 potential victims of modern slavery were referred through the National Referral Mechanism in 2017, of whom 2,454 were female, 2688 were male and 3 were transgender, with 41% of all referrals being children at the time of exploitation. People are subjected to slavery in the UK in the form of domestic servitude, labour exploitation, organ harvesting and sexual exploitation, with the largest number of potential victims originating from Albania, China, Vietnam and Nigeria. This data however does not consider the unknown numbers of victims that are not reported. Ruth was trafficked from Eastern Europe to the UK in to prostitution. Though she was able to escape with the help of a man, she was tricked again and forced to be ‘his own personal slave’. She was finally able to escape with the help of another man to whom she is now married. Ruth tells of how she found the Sophie Hayes Foundation and what it has meant to her.
The UK National Crime Agency estimates 3,309 potential victims of human trafficking came into contact with the State or an NGO in 2014. The latest government statistics derived from the UK National Referral Mechanism in 2014 reveal 2,340 potential victims of trafficking from 96 countries of origin, of whom 61 percent were female and 29 percent were children. Of those identified through the NRM, the majority were adults classified as victims of sexual exploitation followed by adults exploited in the domestic service sector and other types of labour exploitation. The largest proportion of victims was from Albania, followed by Nigeria, Vietnam, Romania and Slovakia. Henrick was living in Eastern Europe when he was offered a job working in a factory in the UK. Upon arrival, his passport was taken and his movement restricted and he was forced to work in various places under threats of physical violence. Henrick finally escaped when he overheard his employers talking about moving them to another location. Henrick was supported by City Hearts when he took his case to the police.