Ján’s Story

Reaching breaking point

Ján* spent most of the last 15 years being exploited by a trafficking gang who forced him into domestic servitude and then into exploitative labour, controlling his wages and movements.

He has been beaten, threatened and abused mentally and physically. Treated like a house-slave, he was later put to work in factories, gardens, and other hard manual work.

He was terrified to try to escape because of threats his trafficker made against him. They regularly checked his phone and monitored his movements to stop him making friends or contacting anyone who could help him.

The traffickers opened multiple bank accounts in Ján’s name but had complete control over them. Ján did not have good English, and felt entirely isolated and had no one to confide in. He was trafficked all over the country, never receiving any income, just tobacco and low-quality food, forced to live in dilapidated and dirty accommodation.

But then his traffickers tried to find him a new job through a recruitment agency that had been trained to spot the signs of modern slavery. They raised the alarm and contacted Hope for Justice. Our specialist team managed to speak to Ján while he was away from his traffickers, and found him in a broken state – unable to go on being psychologically coerced and controlled every single day, having no control over his life.

Hope for Justice helped him to escape, and worked with his employer to get his remaining salary paid directly to him. He said it was a real leap of faith for him to seek freedom after so long under the control of his traffickers.

He managed to escape his accommodation in the early hours of the morning to meet with the Hope for Justice team, who whisked him away to safety and a new life in freedom.

*Name and image changed to protect survivor’s identity.