It is Anti-Slavery Day on 18th October. It might surprise you to learn that Modern Slavery affects a huge number and variety of people in the UK today. Changing Lives supports victims to escape Modern Day Slavery and helps prosecute the perpetrators.
According to data published today, the number of individuals who reported as Modern Day Slaves in the North East has increased by 17% on the previous year’s data.
Funded by Northumbria PCC, Changing Lives run a specialist service to help victims of modern day slavery in Northumberland and North Tyneside. This includes helping people to recognise their situation as modern day slavery, know where to turn for support, and access help to free themselves from exploitation.
We provide people with therapeutic, strength-based support to help them build their self-esteem and reduce repeat victimisation. We also support successful prosecutions to combat modern day slavery.
One of the people we worked with was forced to work up to 80 hours per week for no money, had his benefits taken off him and was “paid” for his labour in alcohol and food. He was forced to engage in drugs-running and was threatened that if he left or went to the Police he and his family would be harmed.
Another was trafficked to the UK from Nigeria for the purposes of sexual exploitation. When she arrived in the North East, she explained her situation to DWP staff, who in turn contacted the project to support her.
Another person is being exploited by members of their local community, being forced to give them money. This has resulted in the individual becoming socially isolated, for fear of reprisals, when he goes out.
Our Specialist Support Worker, Caroline, says that survivors of Modern Day Slavery, are supported by the project using an holistic approach;
“The approach of the project is to empower individuals to see themselves as survivors, not victims. To raise aspirations, self-confidence and help them to envisage their future in a positive way. By supporting through a holistic approach, the project enables individuals to plan their future, in small, attainable steps.”
Changing Lives have helped a number of people in the North East and are heartened to receive messages of thanks from people we have helped to escape exploitation:
“I thank you from the bottom of my heart, I can now concentrate on my new beginning and my children, I can’t put into words what your help has meant to me.”
“You have helped me see that I do have a future. It won’t be easy at times, but I can start again.”
If things like this are happening to you or someone you know, call or text us on 07812 663457.
To support our work on Modern Day Slavery by volunteering your time or making a donation to our projects click on the links below.