The Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation department are pleased to recommend Hestia as the charity for us to support this year as our Christmas card charity. Hestia’s offices are literally across the road from Trinity House, so are very much a local charity with many of their local projects located in our Diocesan areas.

We are particularly keen to recommend their work on Modern Slavery where they are on the front line in providing care on the ground for people who have been rescued and are currently in the NRM*. They are also involved in campaigning, research, advocating for justice and changes in policy to raise awareness of the issue of modern slavery.

We are encouraging parishes to establish links with Hestia projects in a personal way. There are for instance 5 women from Hestia's safe houses who have just started attending an ESOL class in one of our parishes.

Rosemarie Mallett, Director Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation Department said:

‘Hestia works with adults and children facing some of the most challenging and disabling aspects of social and structural injustice, inequality and crises of our time, including modern slavery, homelessness, poor mental health and domestic abuse.  JPIC hopes that by supporting and working with Hestia we can assist in making a difference to those people's lives.’

Ruth Martin, Diocesan Secretary said:

‘I am delighted that we are supporting Hestia, a charity based locally to Trinity House and focusing on alleviating the terrible suffering of modern day slavery. I hope all colleagues will be encouraged to contribute’.

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Your donation could help someone like Evie to recover from the trauma of modern slavery.

(Warning: this story could be upsetting to some)

“It was customary in my town in Albania to have an arranged marriage. Although I wanted to make my parents happy, I couldn’t go through with the wedding. Not only because he was a stranger but I already had a boyfriend, Markus, and we were in love.

As the wedding approached, we had no other choice but to run away. I packed a bag and we travelled to Kosovo where he had “friends” we could stay with.

Unfortunately, as soon as we arrived everything changed. The man I loved, who made me feel safe and who I trusted, betrayed me.

For eight months they kept me locked up and I was repeatedly abused by up to ten men every day (including “him”). I was constantly petrified and they’d threatened to kill me and my family if I tried to leave.

It was only on the day I escaped that I found out I was in England. The first days were a blur but soon I was referred to Hestia and met Meena my advocate. At the beginning, I was terrified of everything. Going to the doctors, speaking to my solicitor, even going to the shops. I couldn’t trust anybody. Meena was my lifesaver. She was with me every step of the way, encouraging me and telling me I could do it. Slowly with Meena’s support I felt myself coming back. One of the first things I did was learn English.

Twelve months after joining Hestia I head reached Level 2 of my English class and was attending college to continue my studies in Social Care. Meena also arranged for me to have counselling. I still suffer from panic attacks, anxiety and depression but it’s slowly getting better.”