Modern slavery is a crime hidden in plain sight: it targets the most vulnerable in our society and seeks to use them as commodities from which to make profit. Homelessness is both an outcome and a driver of modern slavery. Often those experiencing homelessness are targeted by perpetrators and traffickers; and those who have fled from their traffickers are often left destitute, with nowhere to go.
In the year 2022 – 2023 The Passage Modern Slavery Service supported 52 people*, a 21% increase compared to the previous year.
In our most recent report, our figures revealed that for the first time since this service was launched in 2018, our Modern Slavery Service supported more women than men.
The report also revealed that:
- The age of those in need of support varied between 18 and 70 years old.
- These people originate from 31 different countries, with the UK being the most predominant (17%).
- 24 people (65%) had No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF) status.
- 3 people (6%) had learning difficulties.
- 28 people (54%) had mental health support needs.
- Labour and sexual exploitation were the most common forms of slavery seen.
Below we have detailed the ways in which we support survivors of Modern Slavery.
The Passage’s Anti-Slavery Team offers holistic support to survivors of Modern Slavery, including access to our primary services, signposting to First Responders, respite accommodation (if suitable), health and mental health support and care until they receive the relevant support from the Government.
If the survivor agrees, we work together with them to enter their case into the National Referral Mechanism (NRM); a framework for identifying and referring potential victims of modern slavery and ensuring they receive appropriate support.
At least 36% of the survivors supported by The Passage were experiencing homelessness before exploitation and 75% became homeless as a result of their exploitation. 60% are now in safe and suitable accommodation.
Moving forward, The Passage is committed to continue working with statutory agencies, the third sector and with people with lived experience of modern slavery to improve the quality of our multi-agency case conference (MACC) model and to enhance housing options for survivors.
*1st April 2022 – 31st March 2023
Today, Monday 26th June, The Passage’s Royal Patron, Prince William and The Royal Foundation of The Prince and Princess of Wales launched Homewards: a five-year programme that aims to demonstrate that together, it is possible to end homelessness – making it rare, brief, and unrepeated.
This launch follows an event held last month at The Passage, where Prince William and The Royal Foundation briefed key partners on the Homewards programme. At this event, Prince William spoke of how fitting it was to be at The Passage, where he first visited with his mother Princess Diana in 1993 and his personal journey into better understanding homelessness began.
On the launch of Homewards, Prince William said:
“In a modern and progressive society, everyone should have a safe and secure home, be treated with dignity and given the support they need.
“Through Homewards, I want to make this a reality and over the next five years, give people across the UK hope that homelessness can be prevented when we collaborate.
“I am fortunate to have seen first-hand the tireless work of people and organisations across the sector, the tangible impact their efforts can have and what can be done when communities are able to focus on preventing homelessness, rather than managing it.
“It’s a big task, but I firmly believe that by working together it is possible to make homelessness rare, brief, and unrepeated and I am very much looking forward to working with our six locations to make our ambition a reality.”
The Homewards programme is the result of several years of consultation and research in partnership with Sector Partners, including The Passage, and many other NGOs, public bodies, sector experts and people with lived experience of homelessness. Together, we have found an ambitious but achievable way forward that could prevent and end homelessness.
It will do this by giving six flagship locations the space, tools, and relationships to showcase what can be achieved through a collective effort focussed on preventing and ending homelessness in their areas; utilising the platform of Prince William and The Royal Foundation to improve understanding around the issue and drive action and optimism that it can be ended.
The Passage is proud to be a Sector Partner of Homewards, providing insights into the scale and impact of homelessness, and guidance on best practices from a frontline perspective.
As a homelessness organisation, we know that to prevent homelessness we need collaboration and input across the whole of society. This is a societal issue, and it requires a whole of society response.
Mick Clarke, Chief Executive said:
“As our Royal Patron, Prince William has witnessed first-hand during his many visits to The Passage, homelessness can be prevented and ended for good.
We believe that everyone deserves a place to call home; during the Covid-19 pandemic, we saw with the ‘Everyone In’ programme what can be achieved when society truly comes together to address homelessness.
With The Passage being both a Royal Patronage and a strategic partner with The Royal Foundation on this programme, we are proud to support Homewards and look forward to continuing to work collaboratively with partners in the sector and beyond towards our shared vision of ending homelessness.”
If you would like to support the work of The Passage and help towards our vision a society where street homelessness no longer exists, and everyone has a place to call home – please donate today.
Alternatively, you can find out more about our services at www.passage.org.u/what-we-do
On Wednesday 19th April, we welcomed The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Chief Rabbi and other faith leaders to The Passage Resource Centre to encourage people to take part in The Big Help Out.
The Big Help Out is one of the official projects of the Coronation Weekend of HM The King. It aims to raise awareness of volunteering throughout the UK and provide opportunities for people to experience volunteering and make a difference in their communities.
During their visit, faith leaders from Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Sikh and Buddhist communities came together to take part in a number of our regular volunteering activities.
The Archbishop of Canterbury and Chief Rabbi helped to sort through donations of clothing, to restock The Passage’s much needed clothes store. Other faith leaders spent time in The Passage kitchen, preparing lunch for those currently experiencing street homelessness or residing at one of our four accommodation projects.
All seven faith leaders came together to meet with staff, volunteers and clients to hear their stories and the impact The Passage has had on their lives.
Volunteers are the lifeblood of The Passage and they are essential to every aspect of our work to end street homelessness. Our volunteers add tremendous value to the organisation though supporting a diverse range of services, such as food, health, street outreach, community integration and more.
With a recent increase in the number of people coming to our doors for help (46%, January 2022 vs. January 2023), volunteers are needed now more than ever.
Mick Clarke, Chief Executive said: “The Passage was thrilled to welcome a diverse cross section of faith leaders to The Passage as part of the Big Help Out, which we hope will inspire many people to make a real difference to the local community and get involved in the wide range of volunteering opportunities that are available across the UK.
Homelessness is a societal issue and needs a societal solution. At The Passage we saw (during the Covid-19 pandemic) what can be achieved when society pulls together. We hope the Big Help Out acts as a springboard for more people to volunteer their time for causes they are passionate about supporting. The Passage has an urgent need for more volunteers to support our work, and we hope many people will be inspired to get involved volunteering in our work.”
Brendan Cox, Co-Founder of the Together Coalition, which is organising the Big Help Out, said: “The support from over thirty leaders of faith and belief groups, representing millions of people all over the UK, reflects the huge backing for the Big Help Out. The UK’s faith communities excel at volunteering and bringing people together. That’s why are excited about what they can contribute to the Big Help Out. Today’s intervention from senior leaders from the UK’s faith and belief groups, spanning the four nations, is a call to action for the faith communities to build the next generation of volunteers.”
If you would like to support The Passage as a volunteer, please see our current volunteer vacancies
Alternatively, find out more about The Big Help Out.
He also talked about his family foundation, which offers practical support and financial assistance to many local projects and communities in Colombia, and how he hopes that he will be able to use his experience of working closely with The Passage and Centrepoint to shape the future work of the foundation.
Luis said: “Hope and opportunity are so important in life. I grew up in a humble community in Colombia, but I come from a close and supportive family who encouraged me to realise my dream of playing professional football. From the moment I joined Liverpool I have felt the same close connection to the community here, who have welcomed me as one of their own. Having seen the levels of homelessness across the UK and in Liverpool, I knew I had to do something to help.
I feel very lucky to have been introduced to The Passage and Centrepoint and to have spent time learning about their plans to tackle homelessness. This is something I care deeply about. I hope my role as Ambassador will help raise awareness for both charities and give people in the UK the same hope and opportunity, I was so lucky to receive as a young boy growing up. I am also excited to learn from these great charities and use the experience to help set up similar work in Colombia and beyond.”
Mick Clarke, Chief Executive of The Passage said: “We are delighted to welcome Luis Diaz as an Ambassador for The Passage and Centrepoint. Our ethos is to ensure that those who use our services are given the opportunities that many people may take for granted, such as access to employment and training or having a place that you can truly call home.
Through his incredible talent, football has given Luis many opportunities in life and it’s inspiring to see how passionately he wants to give back to others. Homelessness is a societal issue and so it has to be a societal solution and I am very grateful to Luis for his commitment. I would also like to thank NVA Sports and Entertainment Group for their help in facilitating Luis’s new ambassadorial role for both charities.”
Seyi Obakin, Chief Executive of Centrepoint said: “Luis could not have picked a more important time to become an Ambassador and we are delighted to have him on board.
Youth homelessness in England is now at crisis point and thousands of young people are facing homelessness every week. Sadly, many of those living through this experience are hidden from view, and struggle to access the support they need to find a home and a job. Through his talent and by using his huge profile Luis can help us change that – we cannot wait to join up with him and The Passage as we work to end homelessness for good.”
A message from Mick Clarke, Chief Executive
“I’ve always been very proud of our brand, but over the last few years, we’ve introduced a number of innovative new services that focus on ending homelessness for good. Our staff, volunteers and clients felt that our current brand no longer represents who we are, what we do, or how we align to our values.
We were therefore keen to develop a new logo and strapline that feels more ‘us’ – to help us stand out, be recognisable, and have more impact. Raising our brand awareness in this way will ensure that we can reach more people who have experienced homelessness, and I hope this will also have a positive impact by engaging existing and new supporters.
To help guide this project, we established a working group representing all parts of the organisation including our Experts by Experience Team (those people using our services), staff and Trustees who provided feedback and insights every step of the way. You can read more about this process in our newsletter where our Experts by Experience team talk about how important it was to be involved in this project. A genuine example of co-production in practice!
When we asked our staff and clients what The Passage means to them, they said it is ‘a place of community and compassion’. They also said that it is ‘kind, modern and values based.’ I want our updated brand to reflect the experiences of the people who are or have been a part of The Passage, and to reflect what future service users’ experiences will be.
I hope you are as excited as I am to see the how the new branding can help us develop as an organisation. And I truly hope that you will continue to support The Passage as you so kindly and generously have done over the years.”
Today The Passage launched its pioneering new Modern Slavery Toolkit to enable practitioners to identify and support survivors of modern slavery who are also homeless.
Chief Executive, Mick Clarke and Anti-Slavery Coordinator, Dr Julia Tomas, welcomed representatives from local authorities, the civil service, charities and frontline services to our very own events space – the Cathedral View Conference Centre and Rooftop Garden – alongside a panel of special guests including journalist and ITV newsreader Julie Etchingham.
In 2017, after highlighting the issue of our clients being targeted by criminals involved in modern slavery, we were commissioned by the Office of the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner to map out the extent of this issue across the UK, the findings of which were captured in this report.
After uncovering strong links between modern slavery and homelessness, The Passage become the first and only homelessness organisation to recruit a dedicated Anti-Slavery Team, to provide awareness training for staff working in the sector, as well as for clients receiving services.
We now also run a specialist Navigator project, based in Westminster and Camden, assisting potential victims of modern slavery who are homeless to access appropriate care. This project began as a pilot and has since received multi-year funding as part of central government’s Rough Sleeping Initiative. Our most recent report can be found here.
Mick Clarke, Chief Executive says: “In addition to our operational work, we have also been focused on addressing systemic issues regarding the link between homelessness and modern slavery. We established a ‘Task and Finish’ Group including central government, the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner, The Centre for Social Justice and other charity partners which has enabled the continued review of the links between homelessness and modern slavery, while developing strong working relationships across the sector.”
“The launch of The Passage’s Modern Slavery Toolkit seeks to encourage local authorities to take a Multi-Agency Case Conference (MACC) approach. We have led the way with this approach in Westminster, working in partnership with Westminster City Council, Crisis and DLUHC and I am encouraged to see that other local authorities are now adopting this”.
During the launch event, we shared examples of how the MACC approach has worked in practice. A panel of experts, chaired by Julie Etchingham, discussed how to effectively embed, and promote MACC working to address the link between modern slavery and homelessness at a local level.
Dr Julia Tomas, Anti-Slavery Coordinator commented: “Partnership work between frontline charities and local authorities is imperative to support survivors of modern slavery. Based on the success of the MACC approach, The Passage produced this toolkit to support other charities and local authorities to create their own modern slavery service and to do multi-agency work in a formalised way. Together, we can build a better support network for survivors of modern slavery.”
On Wednesday 28th September, Passage staff, volunteers and clients gathered in The Passage Resource Centre for its first ever Green Awareness Day.
Organised by The Passage ‘Green Team‘, the aim was to encourage and inspire all to become more eco-friendly both at home and in the office.
On the day, a number of virtual educational talks were shown, and a representative from the Humane Society International joined us in-person to explain how our eating habits impact the environment.
Dotted around The Passage’s Resource Centre was a number of interactive stations, teaching those who attended valuable skills to lead a greener lifestyle.
We also provided a delicious plant-based meal, to be enjoyed by all.
To find out how you could be kinder to our planet, read our Guide to Going Green.
The Passage is deeply saddened to hear the news of the death of Her Majesty The Queen.
The thoughts and prayers of everyone at The Passage are with our Royal Patron, Prince William and with the whole of The Royal Family.
Over the course of the Queen’s long reign, Her Majesty was the epitome of what true public service should be, setting an example for us all.
We are grateful for her long and dedicated public service.
May Her Majesty Rest In Peace.
In July we welcomed friends, partners and supporters of The Passage to our Cathedral View Conference Centre and Rooftop Garden to celebrate the launch of our new strategy: No Going Back.
In the last three years, the pandemic created a unique opportunity for The Passage and others to come together to address the varied and complex issues of rough sleeping and for the first time in many years, rough sleeping was dramatically reduced. It reaffirmed our belief that when we are open to changing the way we do things and working collaboratively, street homelessness can indeed be ended for good.
During the final two years of our last strategy, we tested out innovative new approaches to how we run our services in response to the changing needs of our clients, largely as a result of Covid-19.
These approaches have now been widely adopted within The Passage and form the foundations of No Going Back.
Our New Vision
A society where street homelessness no longer exists and everyone has a place to call home.
Our New Mission
1) Preventing street homelessness by intervening quickly before people reach crisis point.
2) Ending street homelessness by providing innovative and tailor-made services that act with both compassion and urgency.
3) Advocating for those who feel they are not heard by amplifying their voice to bring about real systemic change.
Our Five Strategic Goals
The No Going Back Film
On Thursday 10th February 2022, The Passage welcomed Lynn Cooper, High Sheriff of Greater London to St Vincent’s Centre. Lynn was accompanied by Tricia Topping, a trustee of Chestertons Foundation who are a new partner, supporting various aspects of our frontline services.
During their visit Lynn and Tricia met with staff and volunteers and spent time with our team at Montford House, one of our residential projects that supports clients with complex mental health, addiction or other specialist needs. They also visited the Kings Scholars Passage Community Garden which is a joint initiative between local residents and The Passage.
Lynn presented The Passage with a High Sheriff Special Recognition award, for our public-spirited contribution to the community – particularly throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.
Mick Clarke, Chief Executive, was also presented with a High Sheriff Special Recognition award for his dedication and determination in the goal to end homelessness for good.
We would like to thank Lynn and Tricia for their tremendous support.