Samara first arrived in the UK in 2017, when she was in her late 20s. She had been working as the primary carer for her parents until a family friend offered her a place to live and study in the UK.
In reality, she was trafficked into forced prostitution and domestic servitude. As well as having to service male clients, she had to clean, cook and meet countless other demands of her trafficker.
This continued for about 10 months until Samara asked one of her clients to help her escape. He agreed, and also found her a place to stay.
Samara was referred to Hope for Justice when she sought help from another local charity. Our Independent Modern Slavery Advocate service has been able to support her in various ways to get her back on track. We helped her to open a bank account, accompanied her to legal appointments, and referred her to counselling and mental health support.
After we supported Samara with her college application, she began studying for her Maths and English GCSEs and is doing a Level 2 Diploma in Social Studies. We connected her with an employability programme and a research advisory board, through which she can share her experiences to improve the support provided by the National Referral Mechanism – the UK government’s framework for identifying victims of modern slavery. She hopes to one day go to university to study criminology.
One of our Independent Modern Slavery Advocates (IMSAs) said: “I can honestly see a huge difference in this survivor’s life. She has experienced trauma and fear but she has come a long way, especially in terms of her mental health. She is now able to cope and process circumstances in a healthy way. She is able to reach out for help and let me know when she feels overwhelmed. We are able to talk in a way that is much more open. She is really enjoying her studies and her extra-curricular activities have made a huge improvement to her mental health.”
*Name changed to protect survivor’s identity