Counselling sessions increase couple’s resilience after trafficking experiences

A couple whose trafficking experience left them with poor mental health have received support to help them in their recovery process.

Hope for Justice first began supporting Aga* and Lech* in summer 2019, at which time they had already escaped exploitation and had both been formally identified as victims of modern slavery in the UK.

The couple, who are in their late 40s, were trafficked to the UK from Poland for forced labour after being promised employment, accommodation and good earnings.

But on their arrival, they were made to work long hours, for little or no pay, on farms, in supermarkets and as cleaners, and were housed in inadequate accommodation.

They had been in recovery for a number of years but when the lockdown was introduced, following the outbreak of COVID-19, the crisis exacerbated their situation.

One of Hope for Justice’s Independent Modern Slavery Advocates, who works directly with survivors, said: “When the lockdown was brought in, we were concerned for the mental health and wellbeing of this couple, who also have physical health problems.

“To try and improve their situation and to support them, Hope for Justice commissioned a number of private online counselling sessions with a therapist, delivered in their own language.

“They have already shared the positive impact these sessions are having on their mental health, which we were really pleased to hear. Lech says that he has found increased confidence in speaking up for himself and Aga told us that the couple no longer panic when they receive confusing documents in the post because they know they have access to support which will enable them to understand and respond to letters.

“It is really fantastic to see how counselling has increased this couple’s resilience.”

Hope for Justice has commissioned 12 private sessions for Aga and Lech.

*Names changed to protect identity of victims