There are an estimated 136,000 people living on conditions of modern slavery in 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.
Laurence was promised decent work in the UK, however upon arrival he was sold from employer to employer, forced to work long hours with no breaks and little pay.
It was a week before Christmas. Everything was going to be taken care of: food, accommodation, transport. The offer of well-paid work in the UK was too good an opportunity to miss. I could finally provide for my daughter in a way I’d always wanted to.
I remember kissing my daughter goodbye. It was a long drive across Europe and we eventually arrived at Davos’s house, and that’s when the nightmare began. There was no job. Instead, over the next four years I was a slave to five different men. Used by each one until they had no more need for me. I was sold in front of my very eyes. I worked at construction sites and car washes, long hours but they kept the money I earned. They even made threats about what they would do to my daughter if I ever went to the police. I was so hungry, I was tired, I was trapped. I had no-one I could turn to for help. I thought life was hopeless.
One day I was walking the streets and someone threw a stone at my head and I ended up in hospital. It’s there that they spotted that I might be in trouble. That’s where I met the team from Hope for Justice. They rescued me there and then. The Hope for Justice team have been with me every step of the way these last few years. It’s not been easy, but they’ve really helped me get back on my feet. A place to live, good food, I’ve learnt new skills. I’m now working at a real job and I’m going to see my daughter again. I am so grateful for my freedom and for the people that have made it possible. I will be forever thankful.
Narrative provided by Hope for Justice