Hestia awarded top prize for collaboration at Stop Slavery Awards

Hestia has won the Collaboration Award at Thomson Reuters Foundation’s annual Stop Slavery Awards ceremony, which celebrates organisations and individuals dedicated to eradicating modern slavery.

Hestia was given the award following the development of the innovative STEP project pilot, launched in partnership with British Red Cross and Ashiana. The project provides different forms of long-term, tailored support to survivors of modern slavery, enabling them to begin to integrate into the community and reduce the risk or homelessness, destitution and re-exploitation.

Hestia wins the Collaboration Award. Photo: Thomson Reuters Foundation

The project, split into several different but complementary models, was co-funded by the asylum migration and integration fund of the European Union. 

The model adopted by Hestia, the Phoenix Project, is a volunteer-led scheme offering community-focused support to survivors of modern slavery. Volunteers work alongside professional caseworkers to provide an additional layer of more informal support, geared towards community integration. 

Last year alone, Hestia supported 1,337 adults and 508 dependent children through its Modern Slavery Response service, which includes safe houses and outreach support.

Hestia CEO Patrick Ryan accepts the Collaboration Award. Photo: Thomson Reuters Foundation

Individuals volunteering with the Phoenix Project offer specialist skills and knowledge in areas including language education, employment, and therapeutic or emotional support.

Volunteers for the Phoenix Project also often support survivors of modern slavery by assisting them with attending appointments, education opportunities or childcare needs.

Photo: Thomson Reuters Foundation

Many survivors of modern slavery have little support outside of that of their caseworker, and are attempting to navigate life in a new community. The Phoenix Project has proven an invaluable tool in easing this integration and helping survivors of modern slavery to build a life beyond crisis.

Adoration*, a survivor of modern slavery who has been supported through the Phoenix Project, said:

“It has been great. If the long-term support ended I wouldn’t know what to do. One of the volunteers helped me with college, and one of them helped me with apps about babies. Having a volunteer makes things easier for me and my baby.”

Jennifer Harrison, Service Manager for Modern Slavery and Homelessness said:

“All of the people we have provided long-term support to via the Phoenix Project have said it has been life-changing for them. It’s person-centred, tailored to their needs and hopes for the future, and has proved imperative in enabling survivors of modern slavery to rebuild their lives.”

The prestigious Stop Slavery Awards ceremony began in 2015, and recognises the innovative efforts of international companies, journalists and charities in preventing and ending modern slavery and human trafficking.

The Collaboration Award was also awarded to modern slavery support charity Justice & Care, while other winners on the night included HSBC for their innovative scheme to provide survivors of modern slavery with bank accounts and Delta Air Lines for their #GetOnBoard campaign.

Dame Sara Thornton, the UK's Independent Anti-Slavery Comissioner, addresses the audience. Photo: Thomson Reuters Foundation

The Stop Slavery Awards ceremony took place at Baker McKenzie’s European HQ in London on 20 February, with speakers including Dame Sara Thornton, the UK’s Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner. 

Volunteer with the Phoenix Project

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