John had a respected job until a serious assault left him with life threatening injuries.
John could no longer do his current job and was battling to support himself when he saw an advert in a local newspaper for work in a food packing factory in the UK. On arrival he worked hard but because of his reoccurring health problems, he had to leave his job and ended up homeless.
An acquaintance from home contacted John on social media and offered him labouring work in Scotland. He was taken in by a family but his life turned into a nightmare. John worked 12 hours per day, 7 days a week and wasn’t paid. He was forced to live in a filthy caravan and was given barely anything to eat. The family forced him into petty thefts, threatening violence if he didn’t comply, which left him afraid to go to the police. This went on for months before he finally escaped.
Homeless again with no money to return home and no-one to trust, he accepted a job on a vast commercial farm in England. This time, he thought, the work would be fairly paid but his life became a nightmare again. He was pressed to work long hours of back-breaking manual labour on the farm every day for no pay. Kept in squalid conditions, his every move was watched, and eventually he fell ill. After almost a year of exploitation, the police raided the farm and in the panic, John ran away, scared for his life.
Last year, exhausted and beyond defeated, John walked into a homeless shelter in Manchester where the staff had been trained by Hope for Justice and our team were called in.
Hope for Justice Investigators built enough of a picture of his story to make sure he was accepted into safehouse accommodation. After this intervention, John received much needed medical care and support and his health started to improve. While at the safehouse, our team visited him regularly to build trust and piece together his memories. Painstakingly, the full picture was established and John felt confident enough to go to the police. Our team travelled across the country with him – for what would have been an intimidating and practically impossible trip for a vulnerable person still learning English – to help him report the crime in full.
When John left the safehouse our Survivor Support team were ready to help him find longer-term housing and a job to create stability and rebuild his self-worth.
Several months on, John now has his own flat and a job. He’s connected within the local community and shares his story with others to raise awareness and encourage others who have suffered hardship.
*Name changed to protect identity.
More survivor stories:
Maly was sold to a man for her virginity, at just 14 years old. She was extremely abused; by him and by other men he brought to where he kept her captive. Now she is free.
Edward was beaten, degraded and made to work exhausting hours. One day, he watched helplessly as he was sold by one man to another man for £300. He knew he was a slave. People ask why don’t men like Edward run? The real question is why do they stay?