Forced Labour to Security

Survivor’s Background:

Laurence had lived in Lithuania his whole life, and was working in various jobs to provide for himself and his family. One day, he was approached by a man in the area where he worked. This man told him of a job in the UK where he would get paid good money and have accommodation provided for him. Laurence accepted the offer and was transported over to the UK.

Laurence lived initially with the trafficker’s family but the work he was promised did not materialise. He therefore received no money or allowance in this time and was often not fed; sometimes being given only the leftovers from the children’s plates. After a short while, Laurence was moved to live with another family where he worked around the house and looked after the children. He was given no wages and was forbidden from leaving the house. In almost a year of living there, he was offered no alternative work or freedom to look elsewhere. After repeatedly asking to be found work, the man he was living with eventually found him work in the labouring industry. In this job, he worked very long hours, having to leave at 3am and returning around 9pm on a working day. Despite gaining formal employment, Laurence received no money for any of the work he did. He presumes the trafficker took this money as he had no bank account at the time for the money to be paid into. He became angry with Laurence for not earning enough money and so sent him away.

He was sent to another man, who employed him in a car wash for 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. Laurence received no pay other than basic food, and a small caravan for shelter. There was no running water in the caravan and, if he wished to use the bathroom, he would have to use the facilities of a nearby supermarket. After several months, he was approached at his place of work by a shop owner with an offer of employment and accommodation. He agreed, hoping to find himself earning the money he deserved. He was happier here, however was still only receiving a small amount of money and his living conditions were again very basic, having to sleep on a mattress on the floor of a porter cabin.

Progression

After engaging with an anti-human trafficking charity, Laurence has started to regain a life for himself. He has shelter, food and support in his housing.

In 2014 he was referred to Jericho for support in working towards employment. Laurence began by volunteering within our Recycling business, working in the warehouse and going out with colleagues to do collections. However, his benefits stopped at the end of 2014 and he was facing homelessness.

Laurence was thrilled when we were able to offer him paid employment in April 2015. His employment is currently only on a part-time basis and on a temporary contract but this is one step towards getting the money he needs to visit his family back home and to becoming stable in his accommodation. His English is still very limited and any communication outside of his daily work routine has to be through interpreters but he is keen to develop his language skills if funds can be found for this support. Relationships with his colleagues have developed well, despite the difficulties in communication, and his confidence has noticeably improved. Being in work in an environment where he is appreciated has had a hugely positive impact on his mental health. He can now been seen joking with other staff and continues to volunteer on days when he is not employed.

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