“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 raped 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.”

How can you help people like Evie? 

Your unused smartphone transform the lives of people like Evie and other victims of modern slavery. 

Many victims can’t speak English. To rebuild their lives it is vital for them to learn. Hestia has been offered 500 free licenses for uTalk, the language learning specialist app and we now need mobile phones for victims to begin learning.

London is an alien place to victims who don’t have access to a map. Many victims struggle to turn up to important meetings such as legal and counselling appointments because with little money for travel they often get lost whilst trying to find their way on foot.

Babies grow up so fast. The new mothers in our service have no means of taking photos of them or recording them as they grow – something small – but important in giving meaning to their lives.

It can feel incredibly lonely in a big city. The victims we support are isolated with no ability to contact family or friends back home. A smartphone would enable them to make contact for the first time with WiFi connection.

Rally your colleagues and collect your unwanted smartphone and charger and send them to our head office at London Bridge. Alternatively, you are more than welcome to drop them off at our office. 

Our address is Hestia, Maya House, 134-138 Borough High Street, London, SE1LB