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Modern slavery and homelessness

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.

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.

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Find our more about our work in this area :

Supporting survivors of modern slavery

The Passage is the first and only organisation in the homelessness sector to recruit a dedicated Anti-Slavery Team, providing support to survivors of modern slavery who are homeless or at risk of homelessness in Westminster.

We offer holistic support including primary services, signposting to First Responders, respite accommodation (if suitable), health and mental health support and care until the survivor receives government support within the Modern Slavery Victim Care Contract. 

To support other charities and local authorities to create their own Modern Slavery Support Service, we have created a Modern Slavery Toolkit.

The Passage Modern Slavery Service is unique in the homelessness sector. We work in partnership with Westminster City Council and many other partners. The services comprises an Anti-Slavery Coordinator and a Modern Slavery Navigator who ensure survivors receive the appropriate support. The Passage Anti-Slavery Team received the second prize of the London Homelessness Awards 2019.

Protecting others

As mentioned above, we are working hard to support other organisations, local authorities and frontline workers to create their own Modern Slavery Support service – through our pioneering Modern Slavery Toolkit.

However, we understand the importance of prevention. For those who are, or have experienced homelessness, the risks of exploitation can often be higher. By working together, we can raise awareness of the risks and signs to look out for, to reduce the chances of people being victimised in the first place.

Our helpful guide provides a range of information that ensure that those we support, and others are fully aware of their rights and what they are entitled to at work.

Reports

Read our most recent report, to find out:

  • Our achievements for 2022/23
  • The support we provided
  • A breakdown of the demographics of those we identified as victims of modern slavery
  • Details of the exploitation seen
  • Emerging trends and patterns
  • Recommendations moving forwards

Alternatively, read our reports from previous years:

Orange report cover with image of two people holding hands, with the text 'modern slavery service report 2022 - 2023'.

Survivor stories

Rose

Thankfully, Rose told The Passage what had happened.

Since visiting us, her situation has completely transformed.

The Passage has helped Rose to:

Rose dreams of having her own business one day, and we will continue to do all we can to support her in this mission!

“When I first came to The Passage, no one had ever helped me before, I didn’t know who to ask. Now I have so many people who care about me and I am so happy to know them.” – Rose 

Please note the name of this client has been changed in the interest of their safety.


Peter

Peter grew up in a large family, he had an abusive Father who wouldn’t let the children go to school and made them work on the family farm instead. When Peter was old enough, his Mother told him to get away and make a life for himself. He left his home and took a labouring job with a family of travellers in London.

The family he worked for kept him captive for over 20 years, he was forced to do hard manual labour without pay and made to fight other men for money. He was physically assaulted regularly and his caravan was guarded by dogs who would try and attack him if he attempted to leave. He was forced into criminal activities and theft.

One day, Peter injured his shoulder and had to go to hospital, the Doctor told him that he shouldn’t be doing any more physical labour. He was no use to the family anymore and they took his caravan and left him homeless and alone.

When he arrived at the Passage he was frightened and anxious. He was identified as a victim of modern slavery, staff supported into the NRM and he went to a safe house. Peter didn’t cope well at the safe house and left to go in search of his Aunt who lived near the sea. He found her and spent many happy months living with her, she bought him a dog and he was about to start college, he finally felt like his life was coming together.

Unfortunately, he couldn’t stay with his Aunt due to the type of tenancy she had and he came back to The Passage for help. Peter was in a really bad way when he returned, he had recently lost his Mother and was too ashamed of his situation to get in contact with any of his family. He hadn’t spoken to many of them for years. He was having numerous hospital admissions, was anxious, depressed and suicidal.

The Passage supported him into a temporary respite bed in a supported hostel whilst they worked on a housing application with a local authority. After a lot of setbacks and hurdles, Peter was finally offered temporary accommodation in the seaside town near his Aunt. He was supported to the new accommodation by staff and the change in him when he arrived there was instant.

Peter has now got his own tenancy; he is on the ground floor and has a patio, so his dog is able to live there with him. He enjoys daily walks on the beach and has joined the local gym. Peter has bought a smartphone and is now in regular contact with his family via FaceTime, he is making plans to go and visit them for the first time in many years. Peter also plans to go to college to learn how to read and write.

Peter said The Passage staff were his – “Guardian angels. Thank you for believing in me and never giving up. You have changed my life and I will never forget you. I couldn’t have done it without you and The Passage has turned my life around. I finally feel like myself again.”

“Before this, I couldn’t see a future and everything felt hopeless, now I am finally able to look forward to things again and I am excited about the future.”


Sylvia

Sylvia presented to The Passage with complex mental health problems including memory loss. The Passage supported her for seven months with suitable accommodation (B&B then a hostel specialising in mental health support), primary services, social care and support, mental health support sessions, cooking and painting activities. The Passage also looked for her family at Sylvia’s request.

Eventually Sylvia recovered and was able to tell her story. She did not remember how she arrived in the UK. She only remembered she was in a church when two men offered her shelter and protection. They took her to a house and forced her to work in various restaurants as a cleaner.

One of the men raped her. Then she was placed in a private house and forced to work as housekeeper. She was never paid and only given leftovers. More than a year later she fled the house and slept rough several nights until finding The Passage. Sylvia realised that she had been a victim of a serious crime and agreed to report to the police.

The Passage facilitated the interview with the Met police and she was referred to the NRM. The Passage provided specialised pre-NRM support for another three weeks until she was placed in a safe house.

Meanwhile The Passage found her daughter who had been looking for Sylvia the last two years. She immediately flew to London and was finally reunited with her mother.