Klemens arrived in the UK in 2015, having been transported by minibus and ferry with a number of other people. He had been recruited from his home country of Poland, while he was homeless and living on the street. The promises of work and a new start were too appealing to turn down.
Once in England, Klemens and eight other men were taken to a property in the West Midlands. They lived together, with the traffickers, for two whole years.
Klemens was made to work several jobs, including handling parcels in factories and working long hours in small corner shops. Half of all his earnings were taken from him, and on top of that, the traffickers demanded rent for the overcrowded accommodation he was being kept in. Whenever he complained, Klemens was threatened and beaten.
He was kicked out of the property after he lost his job. So, in 2018, Klemens became homeless. The police found him on the streets and referred him to Hope for Justice.
Our West Midlands Hub and team of Independent Modern Slavery Advocates (IMSAs) were able to support Klemens to report his case to the police, navigate the National Referral Mechanism, secure long-term and stable accommodation, and apply for settled status in the UK.
In 2018, Klemens was formally recognised as a survivor of modern slavery when he received a conclusive grounds decision from the Home Office. Three years later, he was granted Settled Status, allowing him to live in the UK indefinitely.
Now in his late 50s, having received four years of support from Hope for Justice, Klemens is able to move on from his experiences. He enjoys gardening and helping friends with odd jobs on their houses. He told us: “I have received help from a number of organisations during my time, but Hope for Justice is the one that has helped me the most in setting up my new life and allowing me to progress.”
*Name changed to protect survivor’s identity