Underground Lives 

Hestia is the main organisation supporting victims of modern slavery in London. We campaign and advocate for victims of modern slavery to ensure their voices are heard and they get the support they need to rebuild their lives.

Learn more about modern slavery


Our advocacy work

In 2017, Hestia released the first report in the ‘Underground Lives’ series to reveal the true face of modern slavery in London.

Since then, we have released five more Underground Lives reports, below, each highlighting the shocking and unique realities faced by specific victims of modern slavery, including male victims and pregnant victims.

Most recently, we focused on adult victims of criminal exploitation, revealing how during police investigations, victims of criminal exploitation are often treated as criminals first and foremost, and reflecting on how the coronavirus pandemic will impact victims of criminal exploitation.

“Modern Slavery is a cold, calculated and brutal business model in which people are deprived of liberty and then repeatedly raped, beaten and abused. It turns a profit on the back of other people’s misery. It destroys the lives of its victims and is a shame to all of us in a modern society.” - Patrick Ryan, CEO  

For media enquiries, visit our press office


Publications and reports

Underground Lives: Criminal Exploitation of Adult Victims

July 2020

The sixth publication in our Underground Lives series explores police response to victims of criminal exploitation, strategies used by criminal gangs to recruit victims and how to support victims through COVID-19 and beyond.

Underground Lives: Homelessness and Modern Slavery in London

October 2019

The fifth publication in our Underground Lives series explores the link between homelessness and modern slavery in the capital

Underground Lives: The Reality of Modern Slavery in London in 2018 (Fact sheet)

March 2019

The fact sheet reveals the true face of modern slavery in London in 2018.

Underground Lives: Police Response to Victims of Modern Slavery

Underground Lives: Police Response to Victims of Modern Slavery

March 2019

The fourth publication in our Underground Lives series. 

Underground Lives: Male Victims of Modern Slavery

Underground Lives: Male Victims of Modern Slavery

October 2018

The third publication in our ‘Underground Lives’ series. This report shines a light on the experiences of male victims of modern slavery in London. 

With special thanks to ATLEU, the Helen Bamber Foundation, the Human Trafficking Foundation, Hope for Justice, the Metropolitan Police Anti-Slavery Unit and other organisations interviewed as part of our research. We are also grateful to Hogan Lovells who supported the legal research.

Underground Lives: Pregnancy & Modern Slavery

March 2018

The second publication in our ‘Underground Lives’ series. This report shines a light on the experiences of pregnant victims of modern slavery in London.

Underground Lives: The Reality of Modern Slavery in London - 2018 UPDATE

March 2018

An updated release of the first report in the 'Underground Lives' series

Underground Lives: The Reality of Modern Slavery in London 

November 2017

The report reveals the true face of modern slavery in London, with our figures suggesting that the problem is different in the capital in comparison with the rest of the UK.

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Crisis support

Hestia runs safe houses and community support for victims of modern slavery across London and Kent.

Find out more about our Modern Slavery Response