Hestia's Modern Slavery Statement – December 2021

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 in 2019 and 2020 we published a Modern Slavery statement despite not being required to by law. This is the first year that we are required to publish a Modern Slavery Statement as our turnover has now exceeded £36m.

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.

In the year 2021/22 Hestia supported 14,700 adults and children through a combination of accommodation and community-based programmes.  Hestia provided 200 units for women escaping domestic abuse and a further 40 units for victims of modern slavery in addition to 360 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 650 permanent staff (with additional support by agency and bank workers) and supported by 830 volunteers.  Hestia’s annual turnover increased by 10% to over £37 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

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 modern slavery 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. 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 5000 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 for the first time.

Alongside survivors we also support and advocate for dependants who are survivors of modern slavery too, though not yet recognised. in 2020/21 we supported 1,205 dependent children, we released a report stating there is an estimated 5000 children in the UK not currently recognised as victims of modern slavery and not receiving the tailored support to flourish.

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. Our Phoenix Project is best practice to long-term support for victims of modern slavery. Since its launch we have supported over 100 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 ensure safety for each survivor – whether it is their housing, access to the legal and financial support they are entitled too, the service promotes and advocates for human dignity, down to providing a choice of clothing and food, all the way to advocating for opportunities to study and work.

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. Now inspired, these artists go onto education and training opportunities prior they felt out of their reach.

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. 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 training 112 employees from Skanska on spotting the signs of labour exploitation. In 2022, we will be delivering a bespoke training package in partnership with Homeless Link to their 900+ members on a quarterly basis.

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. Senior Leadership

We have reviewed our progress against our commitments in our last Modern Slavery Statement on a quarterly basis in our Performance Directorate. This has increased awareness of the issues amongst the senior team and we believe is an important step towards embedding wider awareness and action. We will continue to take this forward.

  1. Staff Training

We have now rolled out mandatory modern slavery training for all permanent staff across Hestia. So far 52% of staff have completed this training, but we expect to reach 100% by next year due to the training cycle.

  1. Centralised Supply Chains

We have risk-assessed all of our corporate contractors and have met at Director level with all but one. At these meetings we have increased their awareness and knowledge of modern slavery and then reviewed the specific risks in their supply chains. We also provided various documents which describe the work that Hestia has been doing in this area.

Whilst these meetings have been hard to set up, comments afterwards have been positive, with all Contractors saying that they are now more conscious of the risks and more committed to addressing them where they can.

Three contractors who did not have modern slavery statements have now agreed them and all have promised to publish on their websites.

  1. Devolved Supply Chains

In response to previous concerns about the risks emanating from increased online purchasing by local managers, we have opened a new corporate business account with Amazon. Within this account, all purchasing is restricted to the Yorkshire Procurement Organisation framework. Approved YPO suppliers are more thoroughly vetted for quality, value for money and for modern slavery in their supply chains.

More generally, our Corporate Services team have reviewed and enlarged our approved suppliers list which is available via the intranet for purchasing by local managers.

  1. Policies and Procedures

We have updated our Equality Impact Assessment with prompts to ensure risks around Modern Slavery are considered in the updating and creation of new Policies and Procedures. Since we have implemented this 12 Policies have been updated. In addition, existing Policies and Procedures have already helped us mitigate risks. For example, our Ethical Fundraising Procedure led us to screen out and decline an offer for a partnership from a fast-fashion retailer that could not give any reassurances of their supply chains.

Key risk areas identified - Due diligence in supply chain

Based on our work to-date we have identified that our main areas of risk continue to be related to our supply chains:

  1. Centralised supply chain

It is still the case that the areas of greater risk are where the needs of our service delivery push us towards purchasing based on lowest price and convenience. Moving forwards, we will extend the new approach of conducting a risk assessment and then having face to face discussions meeting with other major suppliers. We recognise however that this takes time and resource, but feel it is more productive than a ‘tick box’ exercise of just collecting modern slavery statements.

  1. Devolved supply chains

In our review we have identified 1,300 suppliers in our devolved supply chains. The combination of non-centralised oversight and the small scale of many of these suppliers means that it is extremely challenging to identify and manage risk and influence behaviour change.

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 2022 to the following actions:

  1. Expansion of training

We believe awareness of modern slavery is a critical first step towards tackling it. As a result we will be rolling out mandatory modern slavery training for all volunteers including our Trustees. In addition we will provide more in-depth face-to-face training for senior managers across Hestia, with a particular focus on service lines where we there is highest risk of service users having been impacted by modern slavery.

  1. Centralised supply chain:

To support our suppliers in building their awareness and commitment, we will identify appropriate toolkits to share with them on a proactive basis. We will continue to have regular conversations with our suppliers. Where suppliers are consistently failing to move in our assessment towards taking action to end modern slavery, we will seek alternative providers. We will focus our attention on areas where our purchasing preferences are heavily weighted by low price and convenience and where we are working through brokers to secure products with known risks around modern slavery.

  1. Devolved supply chains:

We will undertake a further assessment into the risks within our supply chains and develop an action plan. We will ensure the new staff training to be rolled out encourages staff to consider the risk of modern slavery in any local suppliers they use.


Terrie Alafat CBE, Chair of Trustees