Hestia's Modern Slavery Statement

As the leading provider of support to survivors of modern slavery in London and the South East, Hestia is committed to playing a significant role in tackling modern slavery in all its guises. Although we are not large enough to be required to publish a Modern Slavery Statement by law, we believe this is a crucial way for us to be transparent about our actions and be part of a wider movement of change.

About Hestia

Hestia is a registered charity and is incorporated as a company limited by guarantee. Our purpose is to deliver life changing services to people in crisis. The majority of our work is focused in London and the South East, working with people affected by issues including domestic abuse, modern slavery and mental health. We also work on a national basis around the prevention of domestic abuse, both through the use of technology and working in partnership with businesses. Hestia is also the Corporate trustee of the Corporate Alliance Against Domestic Violence.

In the year 2017/18 Hestia supported nearly 10,000 adults and children through a combination of accommodation and community-based programmes. This was delivered by almost 500 permanent staff (with additional support by agency workers) and supported nearly 250 volunteers, with an organisation turnover of £26.9 million. Hestia manages 34 safe houses and refuges, 52 accommodation-based services as well as 7 day centres. We also provide outreach and other support services to children and adults*.

*Subject to change since 2017/2018 

We manage some supply chains centrally, such as agency workers, utilities, office supplies, IT support and merchandise. Our safe houses, refuges, supported accommodation and day centres are responsible for the majority of their supply chains, including property maintenance, cleaning services, security workers, food and equipment. 

What we do to improve the situation for survivors in the UK

We are committed to ensuring that our operations and supply chains do not compound risks of modern slavery. We aim to use our knowledge and understanding of how modern slavery manifests to inform our own practices and ensure that all our staff know what to look for, how to ensure proper due diligence of our supply chains, how to respond in the event of finding an incident and how to ensure that our purchasing practices do not make exploitation more likely.

  • Supporting survivors

Hestia’s modern slavery service started in 2011 and we have supported over 3,300 victims since then. We provide 6 safe houses in London and Kent, as well as a pan-London outreach service working in every London borough.

In 2018 we supported 1,125 adults and 507 dependent children. This represents the majority of adult victims of modern slavery in London who have entered the National Referral Mechanism for that period.

We work closely with The Salvation Army to deliver support to victims who have been referred into the National Referral Mechanism (NRM). The NRM is a national framework that ensures victims of modern slavery are identified and receive appropriate support.

In 2018 Hestia launched the Phoenix Project to provide volunteer-led long-term support to victims of modern slavery in partnership with the British Red Cross.  The Phoenix Project is an innovative new scheme for members of the community to come together to support victims of modern slavery, volunteering their time in language education, health and wellbeing, housing advice, legal advice and therapeutic support.

  • Policy and research

As the main organisation in London working with victims of modern slavery we are committed to using what we learn to improve policy and practice. Our Underground Lives services of research reports aims to provide a platform for the voices of our service users to be heard. So far we have looked at topics including pregnancy and the needs of male victims. These have received widespread media coverage including in the Telegraph, BBC, Guardian and Independent. They have also been considered as part of the Government’s review of the Modern Slavery Act and of the National Referral Mechanism. Based on the findings we have also designed new programmes of support which we are currently actively fundraising for.

  • Training

Hestia has developed a bespoke training package that is offered to organisations interested in understanding more about modern slavery in the UK today. So far this training has been delivered to Ourmala, a charity that supports asylum seekers. 

We also provide in-house training to members of our Modern Slavery Response team and to Phoenix Project Volunteers to enable them to understand and identify modern slavery and to work sensitively with survivors in a way that decreases the likelihood that they will be re-trafficked. 

  • Policies and procedures

We have policies and procedures in place to support our staff and volunteers. However we have not yet undertaken a full review to ensure they explicitly meet our modern slavery commitments.

Key risk areas identified

We have conducted initial work to identify potential areas of risk and have prioritised our fundraising merchandise supply chains and centralised supply chains for a deeper dive.

Due diligence in supply chain

  1. Recruitment agencies 

    • The provision of agency staff through an agreed and vetted agency provider list managed by a master vendor who engages in a quarterly data audit including right to work, Adult and Child DBS and references over a three year period.
  1. Centralised supply chain
    • All contractors are asked to supply proof of registration, insurance, and competency where necessary (including records of staff with qualifications).  All information provided is subject to checks where external evidence is available such as through external regulatory agencies.
    • Contractor and Supplier websites are now monitored to assess if they provide a robust Modern Slavery Statement. If not, enquiries are made and information on their procurement process is sought.  In the case of unsatisfactory assessments, the contractors or suppliers can be precluded from working with Hestia.  

    • Contractor performance is monitored by our in-house team via on-site visits and the team are required to report any workforce concerns they have to Hestia senior management for follow up as appropriate.  
  1. Devolved supply chains 
    • We provide central guidance to all managers regarding the procurement of goods and services.  We maintain an Approved Maintenance Contractors list – and anyone on this list will have gone through the assessment procedures outlined in (2) above.
    • We encourage staff to contact the Contract Services team when using contractors and suppliers for the first time, if there are any concerns, or for any recommendations for suitable contractors or suppliers sought.  

What we will do next

While Hestia’s Modern Slavery Response team plays a huge role in supporting survivors of modern slavery and preventing re-trafficking, we recognise that there is more we can do across the whole organisation to ensure that more staff and service users know how to spot the signs and risks of modern slavery, feel confident in responding proactively and are not unconsciously contributing to modern slavery through our supply chain practices. To achieve this we are committed by March 2020 to:

  • Forming a cross departmental working group of modern slavery, tasked with leading deep dives into the risk areas identified, continuing to spot new emerging risk areas and ensuring we take action to address key risks.

  • Developing and publishing a full work plan, sharing the findings of our deep dives and committing to key actions.

Terrie Alafat CBE, Chair of Trustees