With 21 million people around the world trapped in modern slavery, we have launched our #21for21 campaign to bring freedom and hope, culminating on #givingtuesday.
We are using #givingtuesday to ask people to join the fight against the horrific cruelty and injustice of modern slavery using their generosity and their voice, via a campaign across social media, events, newsletters and other channels, involving films, stories and creativity.
We are using #givingtuesday to highlight the stories of both victims we have rescued and of donors who support us, and to explain the vital need for restorative care for those still traumatised by their experiences.
We are telling stories of people whose lives we have transformed, including Martin. With nowhere to live, no job, family nor money, he was profoundly vulnerable to exploitation. The rain, the snow, the lack of food: he was broken and exhausted. So when strangers promised him a job in the UK, with food and a warm place to stay, it seemed like a perfect way out of a terrible situation.
He was not given time to think. He got into the car with them, slept in their cellar, was put on a coach to the UK. He arrived, with no idea where he was. He was taken to a building and told he was sharing a room with another man.
He cleaned the house for days for no pay, just food and cigarettes. Then factories, bakeries, delivery companies, a car wash. Martin’s traffickers lied to him and exploited him, keeping full control of the money and giving him just tiny slivers of what he had earned.
Finally, Martin worked up the courage to flee, creeping out of the house when he spotted a chance. But with nowhere to go, he found himself destitute, back on unfriendly streets, relying on soup kitchens to eat and sleeping under bushes. That’s when we found him, thanks to information about Hope for Justice he found at a church soup kitchen. Our investigators met him, and saw he was scared and destitute and in a bad way physically.
But Martin was given a ‘survivor pack’ of new clothing and toiletries – all provided thanks to donations from our supporters. For the first time, he smiled. Now we have helped him to live somewhere safe, a long way from his trafficker.
We rescued 134 people from modern slavery last year in the UK, many in joint operations between our investigators and the police.
In the words of our charity’s co-founder and CEO, Ben Cooley: “The way we’ll end slavery is one life at a time. I want to live in a world free from slavery, and every life matters.”