London Evening Standard Special Investigation

The London Evening Standard has launched a Special Investigation to raise awareness of Modern Day Slavery that exists every day in the capital.

The Special Investigation aims to tell the story of those who have experienced trafficking as well as highlight how the general public can be more aware of this growing issue.

Hestia’s Modern Slavery Response has a team of 50 advocates working with men and women who have been trafficked from across the world. Many of those who were trafficked were forced to work in plain sight.

Patrick Ryan, CEO of Hestia says, “We want the public to understand that potential victims of trafficking may be in plain sight of our everyday activities. People working in retail outlets such as nail salons, car washing services and even construction sites could be potential victims.”

Victims of trafficking are often promised a ‘better life’. Their traffickers tell them they will have access to education and employment once they reach the city.

Potential victims may appear “quiet and withdrawn because of the circumstances they find themselves in,” continues Ryan. “They might be anxious because they are not allowed to speak without permission or may even have marks on their body that could suggest they have experienced physical violence.”

 “I told him I don’t want to do that, I can’t do that. But he said I’m a slave to him from now on,” says Abigail. “He said I am nobody.”

Abigail* features in The London Evening Standard Special Investigation where she shares her experience of sexual exploitation. She was forced into prostitution and locked in a small flat where she would wait for men.

Working with her dedicated advocate, Abigail has become more confident and feels empowered as a result of her support from Hestia. She now works with her church in the local community where she helps others who may be experiencing similar situations.

In 2016 Hestia supported 624 victims of human trafficking.

“We ask that if you witness an individual who showcases these traits not to look away but rather to seek urgent help from the police who know how to make the best approach,” says Ryan.

You can support people just like Abigail by becoming a Hestia Volunteer. To learn more information visit our volunteering page.