Hope for Justice is celebrating the rescue of a victim of slavery who has been freed after 18 terrible months of exploitation and control.
Since May 2018, Mathias* has suffered at the hands of employers who made him a victim of systematic forced labour; he was coerced to work under threats. Mathias came to Trondheim, in central Norway, from a country outside of Europe with the promise of a job that was too good to refuse.
He was told that working for this company would provide him with an income, lodgings and a positive work environment.
But on arrival Mathias was placed in a small apartment with several other workers. He was forced to work long days, and had large amounts of money deducted from his salary.
Mathias said: “I was fearful of going to the police, afraid that I would get into trouble. So I continued working long hours for little or no pay. But things only got worse.”
Hope for Justice were contacted by an organisation who had identified Mathias as a potential victim of slavery. Our team of investigators, working alongside other cooperating groups and partners, were able to intervene and rescue him.
A member of our team in Norway said: “Even though they have had suspicions, the police in Trondheim have not found any cases of human trafficking in Trondheim since 2015… Hope for Justice identified Mathias as being exploited through forced labour. Over the past 18 months, he has been controlled, both inside and outside of work. He expressed much gratitude for getting the help he needed.
“This is one step, one life, closer to a world free from slavery. Mathias now wishes to press charges and wants to cooperate with police on the investigation.”
Hope for Justice expanded into Norway in August 2015, opening an office in Stavanger, and recently we opened a new investigative Hub in the capital, Oslo. Initially, the programmes have focused on identifying survivors of modern slavery and assisting in their ongoing care and recovery process.
The charity is also raising awareness by providing training and equipping professionals on the frontline, such as police, social services and immigration officials.
For example, on November 7th, 200 students at the Norwegian Police University College in Bodø, north Norway, received training on how to recognise the signs of modern slavery.
Would you be able to spot the signs? To find out about some of the indicators visit https://hopeforjustice.org/spot-the-signs/
*Name changed to protect identity of victim