A survivor of human trafficking is now able to live independently after receiving four years of continuous advocacy and support from Hope for Justice to help rebuild his life.
Five years on from his exploitation, Polish-born Klemens* can now sit and enjoy reading books in his native language, he is practising his English language, and he hopes to one day work again to earn a living. Physical injuries sustained during his trafficking experience have prevented Klemens from getting a job. He was regularly threatened and physically beaten when he complained about the situation he was in. He suffered minor injuries on repeated occasions.
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.”
We are delighted that Klemens is now in a stable situation, able to live independently, and far from his exploiters.
One of our Independent Modern Slavery Advocates (IMSAs) who has worked closely with Klemens, said: “The survivor was first recruited for forced labour in Poland during a time when he was homeless and living on the street. He was approached by someone from the gypsy community who promised him work opportunities in the UK.”
Klemens arrived in the UK in summer 2015, having been transported via a minibus and ferry with a number of other people. On arrival, the group was taken to an unknown address in the West Midlands.
This is where Klemens stayed, with his traffickers and with eight other men whom he did not know.
For the next two years, he was made to work several jobs, including handling parcels in factories and working long hours in small corner shops. Fifty per cent of everything he earned was taken from him by his perpetrators and he had to pay more money back for the accommodation he was living in.
On losing his job, Klemens was told to leave the property where he was staying and, in 2018, he became homeless. The police found him on the streets and referred him to Hope for Justice.
Our team assisted Klemens to report his exploitation to the police.
Our IMSA said: “His case was reported to the police and after an investigation was conducted, the police concluded that they could not bring a case against his exploiters as there were no other proportionate lines of enquiry to pursue. Although disappointed about this, the survivor has been happy to move on and made many positive steps in his life since this time.”
Our West Midlands Hub and team of Independent Modern Slavery Advocates (IMSAs) have worked alongside the survivor to: navigate the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) – the UK government’s process for formally identifying victims of modern slavery; secure long-term and stable accommodation; apply for settled status in the UK; and claim civil compensation for the exploitation he faced.
Klemens was formally recognised as a survivor of modern slavery in August 2018, when he received a conclusive grounds decision from the Single Competent Authority. He was granted Settled Status at the end of 2021, entitling him to live in the UK indefinitely.
Our IMSA said: “We are really pleased that the survivor is now in such a stable position and able to live a new life, free from modern slavery. In the future, the survivor hopes to be able to work and earn some money for himself. He wants to become fluent in English and is always eager to test out his English in new situations with anyone he comes into contact with.”
*Name and image changed to protect identity of the survivor
Learn to spot the signs of forced labour and other forms of modern slavery here.