BH is a Hungarian man who was trafficked into the UK in November 2011. He was promised that he would be able to work in a factory, and would earn roughly £700 a month. BH has a close relationship with his family and saw it as an opportunity to pay back money that he owed to his sister. Together with another 2 men, he was taken to a property in England and instructed to sleep on the floor in the attic. They worked for long hours in a factory until suddenly they were told by the family that they were living with that they had to pack their bags and leave the property quickly. They stayed with the family and the three men had to share a box room, they felt as though they were being kept in a prison cell. They were only allowed access to the kitchen and bathroom once a day, and showers once a week. They were barely given any food, and if they did not comply with instructions they were given no food so they had to resort to shop lifting to survive.
They tried to leave but because they couldn’t speak English their attempts to ask for help failed. BH felt mentally completely under the family’s control. He was eventually identified as a potential victim of trafficking at a homeless shelter after escaping and was linked in with support. However his language barriers and difficulties in navigating the British labour market meant that he struggled to find work. Unemployment made it difficult to recover from his experience because of continuing difficulties with benefits and the feeling of worthlessness that he experienced from not being able to earn money for himself.
BH was referred to Jericho by Hope for Justice in early 2016 and relocated to Birmingham from the North East to begin part time paid employment within our Landscape Social Enterprise in February. His English had already begun to improve through his experience in Britain and he was keen to develop this further. Although showing an interest to learn more through ESOL, we have struggled to encourage BH to attend these weekly lessons – he is more willing to improve through everyday conversation with colleagues. His desire to work is unquestionable and he has engaged well with other team members – he has just needed the right opportunity and to be in a supportive environment where he is able to learn to trust again. When BH moved to Birmingham he was found supported accommodation in a shared flat but as the weeks went on he grew in confidence and independence and no longer felt the need to receive this housing support. BH showed huge potential and readiness to progress into other work and as a support worker at Hope for Justice said, his life “has completely changed since being employed by Jericho”.
After 4 months supported employment at Jericho, BH was able to secure full time paid employment in Construction in another UK city and has now been given a 2 year contract.
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