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.


What is modern slavery?

Modern slavery is a serious crime in which people are coerced or deceived into a situation where they are exploited, for the purpose of making a profit. The offence is punishable by up to life imprisonment under the 2015 Modern Slavery Act. 

1,715 suspected victims of modern slavery in London were identified by the Metropolitan Police in 2017. 

Modern slavery takes many forms including trafficking for sexual exploitation (including prostitution, strip clubs, escort work and pornography), domestic servitude (including working as cleaners, carers or nannies) and forced labour in work such as nail bars and car washes.


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. 

On International Women’s Day 2018, Hestia released, ‘Underground Lives: Pregnancy & Modern Slavery’ to highlight the shocking experiences pregnant victims of modern slavery face. The report found 2 in 3 women received no antenatal care until their third trimester before coming to Hestia.

Following the release, Hestia was delighted to learn the Home Office were to give a £300 grant to pregnant victims to help support costs for their baby. 

“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: 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