After three years in limbo, trafficking survivor can finally start over

After an agonising three-year wait, a Romanian man who was trafficked and held prisoner in the UK has finally got the support he needs, thanks to Hope for Justice.

After Ivan* escaped his captors in 2017, he was referred to the National Referral Mechanism (NRM), which officially recognises someone as a trafficking survivor and means they receive the help they need to recover and start a new life.

But Ivan, who is in his early 30s, was too traumatised to share all his experiences. So due to lack of information about his ordeal, he was denied the support he needed. Despite the fact he was held prisoner for months and was forced to work in construction for ten hours a day for next to nothing. And despite the fact he feared for his life while he lived in poor conditions with 12 others, Ivan was left in limbo, stuck in emergency accommodation.

But then towards the end of last year, he was referred to Hope for Justice by a healthcare professional after an unrelated accident tragically left him with life-changing injuries. Our expert team were the first to gain Ivan’s trust since his trafficking ordeal, and give him the confidence he needed to tell his full story for the first time.

We then challenged the NRM decision, ensuring the full extent of his experiences were detailed. For four months, we provided advice, guidance and support, every step of the way. Thanks to our team’s dedication, the original result was overturned, and Ivan could finally have access to the support he needed to enable him to begin a new life.

Ivan is now living in a safe house, receiving physical and mental health support, and financial support. He is feeling much more positive about the future, and plans to remain living in the UK, and find work so he can provide for his family.

*Name and image changed to protect survivor’s identity

Photography credit: Darya Tryfanava. Library image, does not show this case.