A man is now receiving the support he is entitled to – 18 years after being trafficked to the UK for forced labour.
Dusan* was barely earning minimum wage in his home country, Slovakia, when three Slovakian nationals promised him a better life.
They guaranteed he would receive 10,000 Slovak Koruna (SKK) each month – the equivalent of about £814. They also claimed that accommodation, food, and bills would be included at no additional cost.
These lies marked the beginning of Dusan’s exploitation.
A member of our outreach team in West Yorkshire said: “The traffickers told Dusan he didn’t have to worry about anything because everything would be provided for free, except tobacco and drinks.
“One week later, he was brought to London by coach. There were six other workers, both men and women, travelling with him. They eventually arrived at a house in West Yorkshire. While living here, they were refused breakfast and drinks. They were given one sandwich during the daytime and one hot meal at night.
“Dusan was asked to sign a contract in English, a language he didn’t know. He worked five days per week, and sometimes overtime at weekends in a factory, packing goods. To this day, he doesn’t know how much he actually earned because he didn’t ever see his payslips.”
Traffickers pocketed his salary
Dusan was trafficked to the UK in 1994 and was forced to work in the factory for six months. He only received about £40 per week, while his traffickers pocketed the rest of his salary. On one occasion, his traffickers threatened him, putting him under pressure to sign a loan for £10,000. Dusan refused and a fight broke out between him and his exploiters. Thankfully, with the help of a colleague, Dusan managed to escape and find new, safe employment, in another location.
Formally identified as survivor of human trafficking
Dusan, now in his 50s, was referred to Hope for Justice last year. At that time, he was unable to move forward with his life because of his exploitation.
A member of our team said: “The survivor courageously shared his story with us. He had never formally reported his experiences and so we referred him into the National Referral Mechanism (NRM). He received a positive reasonable grounds decision, officially identifying him as a victim of human trafficking, which gives him access to the appropriate support.
“Dusan’s passport and ID were taken away by his exploiters, so he had never been able to apply for a new one. Despite managing to find a new job, Dusan has not been able to register with a GP and he has never had a bank account in his own name in the UK.
“We helped him to overcome these barriers and are pleased that he is now able to begin moving forward with his life.”
Our team supported Dusan through a time of hardship by providing him with essential supplies and food vouchers. He is now in receipt of further outreach support via another organisation.
*Name and photo changed to protect identity of the survivor
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