Supporting Survivors of Modern Slavery

Modern Slavery is happening right now in Birmingham!

Modern Slavery in the UK is an ever-increasing problem. It is estimated that there are over 136,000 individuals who are currently in Modern Slavery, and that Birmingham and the West Midlands have the highest concentration of Survivors, outside of London.

How Survivors of Modern Slavery are supported in the UK

The National Referral Mechanism (NRM) is operated by the Salvation Army, on behalf of the UK Government. They provide ‘Safe Houses’ for these Survivors, who have been rescued from their Modern Slavery exploitation.

In 2016, the NRM received 3,805 referrals – a 17% increase from 2015. The NRM provides these Survivors with up to 45 days in a Safe House. The West Midlands saw 357 people being referred – fewer than 10% of those enslaved go to the Police voluntarily. This is mainly through fear that they will be dismissed, or lack of English language proficiency.

Being rescued and moved into a Safe House is only the start of the journey for a Survivor of Modern Slavery. Over 30% of them originate from inside the EU, which means that technically they are classed as EU migrants – there is no exemption for Survivors of Modern Slavery.

Unless they can get discretionary Leave to Remain, these Survivors of Modern Slavery will have no recourse to public benefits when their 45 days in the Safe House ends.

What happens next?

 As a result, many become homeless and destitute, which increases their vulnerability to abuse of drugs or alcohol, being re-trafficked and an increased risk of mental health problems.

Finding paid and sustainable employment in the UK is becoming increasingly critical for these individuals. In 2016, Survivors were from 108 different nationalities.

Jericho is part of local, regional and national networks, set up in partnership with other relevant agencies and charities, to tackle the problems and fallout from Modern Slavery. It has contributed to a number of research articles and reports, all of which conclude that three months is simply not enough time to learn sufficient English, gain confidence in the workplace and recover from the trauma of exploitation.

There is also a significant gap in the provision of work placement opportunities in Birmingham and the West Midlands for all disadvantaged groups, but particularly for Survivors of Modern Slavery. Jericho is seeking to fill this gap by providing a work experience programme specifically for Survivors.

Survivors of Modern Slavery in our Community

Survivors of Modern Slavery are mainly capable, hard-working individuals who, taking responsibility for themselves and their families, are commonly duped, abused and exploited into false promises of work in the UK. Often they cannot go home, as the risk of further exploitation is extremely high, or threats have been made against their families.

There is often a feeling of limbo – that they struggle to support themselves in the UK, while not being able to return home to their families. Due to the nature of their trauma, these Survivors often need more support and help than is first apparent. Their English language skills are often not strong enough to be able to integrate into society, and their lack of knowledge as to their rights to social help and support are often significant barriers.

Survivors of Modern Slavery can become significant contributors to the UK culture and economy, and Jericho can play a significant role in supporting them with this transition.

How Jericho helps

We operate eight Social Enterprises across Birmingham, that provide on-the-job training, work experience and employment opportunities for Survivors of Modern Slavery. These vary from Construction, Contract Cleaning and Wood Recycling, among others.

We have a team of mentors, trainers and job coaches who deliver personal development, employability skills and personal support. Jericho offers a programme of voluntary and paid work experience, combined with employability skills training and an individually tailored package of holistic support. We have seen the effectiveness of this firsthand, and our goal is to support these Survivors to overcome their isolation and fragmentation, and encourage their inclusion, connection and integration into society.

Further information on Modern Slavery

If you would like to learn more about combating Modern Slavery in the UK, or discuss how you could support The Jericho Foundation in this important and life-changing work, then please send us an email or call on 0121 647 1960.

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