Freedom and hope after 12-year ordeal

After being trapped in a cycle of exploitation, fear and homelessness for 12 years, a Hungarian man has finally rediscovered freedom.

Attila*, who is in his late 50s, was first trafficked to the UK in 2009. He had been promised a better life and well-paid work. But after arriving, he was forced into three different jobs one after another, and made to do work such as washing cars. Sometimes, he would earn as little as £5 a day.

Each time Attila bravely escaped, he was forced to live on the street. Then he would be approached by another trafficker, who made him more promises. With no other option, Attila would accept the offer of work, and the cycle would repeat again.

But thanks to the tireless efforts of Hope for Justice’s team, Attila has now been able to tell his story for the first time, and get the support he needs to rebuild his life. Having been controlled and held captive for so long, Attila was too distrustful of authority to accept help when our team, working closely with a local partner, first found him while homeless last summer.

He disappeared for a while, unable to understand why we wanted to help him for nothing in return. But we made sure we found him again, and for around six months, we worked to gain his trust.

After hearing Attila’s full story, we worked together with local partners in Yorkshire to secure emergency accommodation, food and other essentials for him. Our team then supported him into the National Referral Mechanism (NRM), the process to formally identify and support trafficking survivors.

Attila is now in safe accommodation, and receiving medical and psychological support after a positive NRM decision. He is beginning to recover, and is feeling hopeful about the future.

*Name and image changed to protect the identity of the individual