Trafficking victim wins compensation after falling from ladder

A trafficking victim has won compensation from an employer after falling from a wrongly placed ladder and fracturing his arm.

Stefan*, who is in his late 30s and living in West Yorkshire, was orphaned as a child and has spent time living on the streets. He was trafficked through Romania, Bulgaria and Spain for forced labour and domestic servitude, before being brought to the UK.

He is formally recognised as a victim of modern slavery, having been through the UK’s identification process, the National Referral Mechanism, and received what is known as a conclusive grounds decision.

Stefan was rebuilding his life post-trafficking and was working at a UK firm on a temporary basis when he sustained the injury. He was stood at the top of a ladder at the company premises when several poorly placed items fell on him, causing him to lose his balance.

Stefan was taken to hospital and out of work for about two months while his arm healed.

One of Hope for Justice’s Independent Modern Slavery Advocates (IMSAs) heard Stefan’s account of what had happened and referred him to a specialist solicitor who arranged an appointment, gave advice and took on the case.

To avoid a legal dispute, the employer offered Stefan £3,000 as an out-of-court settlement, which he accepted.

The IMSA said: “We are really pleased that Stefan has made a full recovery following this accident at work. It is very rare for a defendant to make an offer like this. It is great that Stefan, who has had an incredibly turbulent past, has decided to use this money wisely, to pay off debts including rent arrears, council tax bills and water bills.

“Sadly, due to the lockdown, it is very difficult for him to find employment. Due to underlying health issues, he is an at-risk individual and has been advised to stay at home. However, he is considering using some of the money to do a professional construction course. He is very happy with the outcome. This money will hugely help him in his current circumstances.”

So far this year, Hope for Justice has arranged for Stefan to receive food parcels from his local authority while he was out of work, given advice about COVID-19 and help to access welfare benefits.

*Name and image changed to protect identity of victim