A man who was trafficked into the UK and then coerced into forced labour is celebrating 10 months’ employment in a job he “loves”.
Mateusz* was transported to the country under the false promise of well-paid work.
But on arrival, his documentation was taken from him and he was forced to “live in squalor”, in a one-bedroom property with seven other adults.
For three years Mateusz, aged in his 30s, was a victim of forced labour, working long hours in factories.
He was rescued following a police raid on the property.
Hope for Justice, a global anti-slavery charity, came into contact with the victim in 2018.
Sheralyn Pattison, an Independent Modern Slavery Advocate at the charity, said: “This trafficking survivor has been through a horrendous ordeal.
“He has been exploited. He was made to live in squalor and his traffickers took everything from him.
“To see him in a stable job, with a mainstream employer, and really enjoying his work, is an absolute joy.”
The survivor is now working at a food warehouse.
He said: “I really love my job. I am really happy with work and so thankful for all of the help I have received.”
Hope for Justice has advocated on his behalf, applied for welfare benefits, arranged English tuition, liaised with police, given immigration advice, and worked alongside lawyers to apply for his settled status in the UK, which has been granted.
“For a long time, Mateusz was concerned about his residency,” Sheralyn said, “He was very insecure about his status and what would happen to him if he did not get it. He did not know how he was going to survive.
“We were over the moon when we received the news that it had been granted.”
This means that Mateusz is now eligible to claim benefits and reside in the UK.
*Name and image changed to protect identity of victim