Hestia's Modern Slavery Statement – December 2022

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. That’s why we have been publishing a Modern Slavery statement since 2019, long before we were required by law.

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 using technology and working in partnership with businesses.

In the year 2021/22 Hestia supported 18,519 adults and children through a combination of accommodation and community-based programmes. Hestia provided 202 units for women escaping domestic abuse and a further 62 units for victims of modern slavery in addition to 530 units to support a range of other clients.  Community based programmes were provided from our London wide network of offices and through our 3 day centres and 7 crisis centres. Services were delivered by 750 permanent staff (with additional support by agency and bank workers) and supported by 600 volunteers. Hestia’s annual turnover increased by £4.9 million to £42.34 million.

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

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

Hestia’s modern slavery service started in 2011. Year on Year we support thousands of survivors of Modern Slavery providing safe houses and an outreach service in London and Kent. To date we have provided 4662 survivors with vital support to navigate their first steps on a path to recovery.

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.

It is estimated today there are 136,000 people in the UK trapped in modern slavery. Our vision is to give people back their dignity and advocate for systemic change to end slavery. This year we predict more than 2500 survivors will come through our response service.

Alongside survivors we also support and advocate for dependants who are survivors of modern slavery too, though not yet recognised. In 2021/22 we supported 757 dependent children.

Survivors of Modern Slavery once freed still need to go on a long and complicated journey to recovery. Hestia offers additional support to survivors once they exit the NRM through the Phoenix Project. Since its launch we have supported over 77 survivors who work with us until they feel integrated and settled within a local community. This service ensures very vulnerable survivors do not fall through the gaps in statutory services. We are currently expanding this programme with a new specialist Children and Family Worker.

Our annual art exhibition #ArtIsFreedom helps us engage the public into increased awareness to report and bring about a systemic change to end slavery. Our survivors/artists who contribute to a dedicated summer art and photography programme, the programme helps them find their voice, an identity away from their victim and survivor tag. This year the exhibition, which was co-curated by survivors and the Anti-Slavery Collective, was hosted in public sites including London Bridge Station and Trafalgar Square.

Since 2020, we have provided digital inclusion through the provision of smart phones and tablets to all our service users. Alongside our face-to-face support we now also provide digital options to stay in touch with advocates and to engage in integration activities.

  • 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 series 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, the needs of male victims, criminal exploitation and dependent children. Our latest research looked at employment opportunities for survivors whilst in the National Referral Mechanism and was conducted in partnership with Pro Bono Economics.

These have received widespread media coverage. 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.

We are also a Police Super Complaint Designated Body and submitted the first ever Police Super Complaint focused on modern slavery.

  • Training

Hestia has developed a bespoke training package that is offered to organisations interested in understanding more about modern slavery in the UK today. We deliver our training packages to Local Authorities, Domestic Abuse and Homelessness Charities and more recently expanded our training offer to Corporate Companies. This year, we have delivered over 10 training to companies such as Boston Consulting Group, the National Care Forum, & Shoreditch Trust, reaching over 275 attendees. In 2022, we also developed a bespoke training package in partnership with Homeless Link delivered to their 900+ members on a quarterly basis.

Our Head of Modern Slavery is speaking at the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners & National Police Chief Council Summit in November 2022. We are also strengthening links with the Learning & Development Team of the Met Police and exploring the potential to deliver Modern Slavery Awareness Training to all new recruits.

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.

What we have done since our last Modern Slavery Statement

  1. Expansion of training

We have continued with the focus on mandatory modern slavery training for all staff across Hestia. 95% of our current employees have attended.

Volunteers are currently provided with access to e-learning where they can access modern slavery training, and this has been highlighted in comms to volunteers to specifically encourage volunteers to complete this module. Our volunteering team are implementing a mandatory training for volunteers via an induction process which is compulsory for volunteers in service facing roles.

All Trustees took part in modern slavery awareness training, led by our Head of Modern Slavery.

  1. Centralised Supply Chains

We have continued conversations with centralised suppliers around modern slavery, though this work is challenging in terms of both resource and supplier receptiveness to a subject outside their norm. One major supplier has offered us the opportunity to host one of their regular webinars for their customers to share information about modern slavery and how to combat it.

As part of our due diligence for a lease for a new head office, we identified that the landlords are subject to sanctions due to their historical links with Libya. We have undertaken further due diligence and are reassured that the continued oversight by HM Treasury ensures that any profits will remain frozen until they can benefit the Libyan people and will not contribute to modern slavery in Libya.

  1. Devolved Supply Chains

Our devolved supply chains are the locus of the highest risk. In the last year, we have mitigated this by increasing due diligence and reducing the volume of devolved purchasing by centralising procurement and management of security services, language translation and sanitary waste disposal.

Key risk areas identified

Based on our work to-date we have identified that our main areas of risk are

  • Supply Chains

While we are pleased with increased engagement by our central suppliers, many of them remain at the beginning of their journey to understanding and tackling modern slavery. However, our main concern remains the risks in our devolved supply chains where we do not have strong organisational oversight.

  • Vulnerability of clients linked to cost of living crisis

We are increasingly concerned about the vulnerability of many of the clients that we work with which could be exploited by criminal gangs and other perpetrators of modern slavery. In particular there is potential for individuals to be targeted for labour exploitation and cuckooing.

 

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 December 2023 to the following actions:

  • Increase the depth of knowledge and professional curiosity of staff and volunteers

As a next stage to our widespread training, we will pilot face to face workshops and bitesize sessions for all of our staff – but with a focus on operational services where we have identified high levels of vulnerability. These sessions will focus on increase professional curiosity around managing local supply chains, as well as raising awareness around particular types of exploitation that our service users could be vulnerable to such as cuckooing.

  • Continue to increase oversight of our devolved supply chains

Many transactions are still undertaken by managers at a local level, with little centralised oversight. We are undertaking a review of policies and procedures in this area and will be bringing a more goods and services under central procurement. This will allow us to have better accountability and checks on these devolved supply chains.

  • Increase emotional engagement with modern slavery across our networks

We know that motivation to tackle modern slavery is deeply linked to people’s emotional commitment to the issue. Alongside our wider engagement with our centralised supply chain, we will find ways to share personal case study stories with our partners. We will also increase our communications to volunteers and staff, based around highlights such as Art is Freedom and case studies.

 

Terrie Alafat CBE, Chair of Trustees