In The Headlines

Top UK retailer John Lewis backs job scheme for slavery victims

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Britain’s largest department store group has joined a project that offers slavery victims four-week paid work placements that can lead to a permanent job.

Read the full article here.

City Hearts Launches in Aberdeen

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This month sees the launch of Modern Slavery Charity City Hearts in Aberdeen. Caring for some of the most vulnerable and exploited men, women and children in the country, City Hearts Aberdeen will begin their work by providing care for women with life controlling issues, with future plans to become part of the support network for the care of survivors of Modern Slavery in Scotland.

Scotland has been identified as the largest pathway of child trafficking in the United Kingdom, and the Scottish government are working hard to put into place policy and legislation that identifies and supports victims, and prosecute those found guilty of trafficking.

As part of the UK Government’s response to Modern Slavery, City Heart (UK) opened their doors in 2005 and have since cared for over 4000 victims of Modern Slavery. Their mission is to pursue the freedom and restore the lives of some of the most vulnerable and exploited people in society. They do this through services such as Safe Houses, Outreach Support, Counselling and Integration Programmes which promote independence, full integration into society and building trust in humanity once again.

In partnership with the Co-operative Group, City Hearts also hopes to develop the Bright Futures Programme in Scotland. In addition to providing training and work placements, the Bright Future Programme aims to employ 300 people who have been rescued from enslavement by 2020.

“We are really excited to be launching our charity in the North East of Scotland.  We hope to grow and establish the charity and link with agencies across the area to help survivors of modern slavery and those struggling with life controlling issues.”

– Kirsty Wilson, a City Hearts Regional Manager

Police tackling rise in ‘pop-up brothels’

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In the last 9 months, South Yorkshire police alone have received 48 intelligence reports regarding pop-up brothels in Sheffield, and on 5 of these occasions victims of modern slavery have been discovered.

Louise Durham, City Hearts Head of Services says, “It is a huge issue, and a one of the biggest crimes in our country hidden in plain sight. These men, women and sadly children are threatened and beaten, they’re petrified.”

“Quite often they (pop-up brothels) operate in apartments because people can let themselves in and a lot of people coming and going isn’t suspect.”

 

Signs of a pop-up brothel may include:

  • Multiple women living at the address, or numbers of women being brought to and taken from the address by someone else
  • Multiple vehicles visiting the property at any one time
  • Many frequent visitors, usually male, who don’t stay for long periods of time

If you suspect a pop-up brothel is operating in your area, please contact your local police or the Modern Slavery Helpline on 08000 121 700.

Follow this link more information on the BBC Pop-Up Brothel story.

300 Jobs for Survivors of Modern Slavery by 2020

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Up to 300 jobs are to be created within the next two years for survivors of modern-day slavery.

Up to 300 jobs are to be created within the next two years for survivors of modern-day slavery under a programme led by the Co-operative Group in partnership with local charity City Hearts.

Some of the UK’s leading businesses, are set to create up to 300 jobs for the victims of Modern Slavery by 2020.

Under the Bright Futures Programme, the Co-operative Group is working with City Hearts to provide work for people who are rescued from enslavement.

Already more than 30 vulnerable survivors are being given a chance to rebuild their lives after securing placements through Bright Future.

The Co-op said as many as 20 large firms are on the verge of signing up.

City Hearts have developed The National Matching System which will match candidates from Referring Partners, to Bright Future work placements, provided by Business Partners. Business Partners and referring partners will be required to sign up to minimum standards to ensure quality and consistency of principles and approach.

Importantly, The National Matching System also supports the candidates every step of the way through the process and beyond, through regular communication, practical and emotional assistance when required.

Co-op chief executive Steve Murrells said “We think of slavery as something for the history books but it is happening in the UK at this very moment. This is a blight on our society which impacts on our fellow human beings in the most unimaginable ways as they are stripped of their freedom and their dignity. Hidden in plain sight working in nail bars, car washes and in private homes.

“Having heard at first hand the harrowing stories of people who have been caught up in this heinous crime, I am proud that we are working to help eliminate it.

“It is clear that victims need to be supported while they rebuild their lives and central to that is the dignity that paid, freely chosen employment provides. Without this, there is a real chance that they could fall back into the hands of those who have exploited them and for the terrible, unspeakable cycle of enslavement to begin again.”

In addition to the Bright Future’s Programme and the National Matching Network, City Hearts vision is that all its services support survivors to thrive, by living independently and integrating fully into society.

City Hearts’ Project Development Manager Phill Clayton says “City Hearts works with victims of exploitation all over the world, pursing freedom and restoring the lives of some of the most vulnerable.

“We are proud to be working with the Coop, helping survivors in the UK rebuild their lives one step at time. A supported pathway to employment is a huge step on the road to restoration. With stable income comes hope of a brighter future, so many victims have had the freedom to work stolen from them, some for decades, bright future is a launch pad to a new life.

“We are committed to seeing lives fully restored. “

 

Follow link for the full BBC story.

41 ‘extremely vulnerable’ rescued in raids across North West England.

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This month, City Hearts played a critical role in the rescue of 41 ‘extremely vulnerable’ people in raids across North West England.

Thanks to the trusting relationships built at our Drop-ins, which provide on-going support to survivors of Modern Slavery, our team identified a suspicious working arrangement which one individual found themselves in.  This resulted in a tip off, which led to a major investigation by Merseyside Police and the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) which resulted in raids on 12 homes and the rescue of 41 workers suspected to be the victims of Modern Slavery.

City Hearts Regional Manager Phill Clayton, told BBC Look North that the client “was vulnerable and not understanding what was right and what was wrong. It felt not okay to him, he felt like he needed to get advice. And that’s what we do, we help people like that.”

GLAA senior investigating officer Martin Plimmer said the victims were all forced to work at food processing and packaging plants in Greater Manchester.

“They were not aware of their rights, they were being told where to live, they were being told where to be, they were being transported,” he said.

“At every stage there was somebody controlling their movements. This was being done by fear. The whole purpose of this gang was to exploit these people.”

For the full story head to the BBC website.

City Hearts Supports Survivors into Employment

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Read the BBC News Article here

On 18th January 2018, City Hearts will present to a round table meeting, hosted by Rt Hon Frank Field MP at the Houses of Parliament.  The meeting seeks to engage businesses in supporting survivors of Modern Slavery with an employment opportunity after their time in a safe house.

Over the past year, we have developed a pathway which has seen over 30 survivors complete a tailored job placement with the Coop, which has transformed their lives.  City Hearts exists to pursue freedom and restore lives and we know that a stable income alongside meaningful community allows a survivor to enjoy a lasting freedom.

City Hearts is currently caring for 500 men, women and children who are survivors of Modern Slavery in our safe houses and outreach programmes.  This is part of the Government’s 45 day reflection and recovery period for victims.  Those we support have been through the most traumatic of circumstances, having been repeatedly abused and exploited.  Although much can be achieved in 45 days, to see a life fully restored requires longer term support.  This is why we developed longer term care through the Integration Support Programme (ISP).

The ISP is a safety net which prevents survivors from finding themselves in places of extreme vulnerability, such as retrafficking or homelessness.  It means no survivor is left involuntarily without support and provides a place of great community through our Drop Ins, which we aim to be the best day of someone’s week.

To accelerate someone along their pathway to freedom, the ISP connects survivors to local Coop Bright Future placements.  Under the scheme, the Coop provides survivors with a four week paid work placement with a guaranteed non-competitive interview for a job at the end.  Before, during and after this time, City Hearts support is vital.

The results have been amazing.  Peter was exploited in a car wash and then forced to open fraudulent bank accounts to aid his traffickers’ money laundering.  He is one of many, who is now working in a store.  He said, ‘I love my life now.  I enjoy waking up every morning.  This is the ideal working environment for me.  The people here are seriously nice.’

Ed Newton, City Hearts Managing Director, said ‘We are committed and honoured to play a part in the journey of recovery for survivors.  A job represents food on the table, a home and community to be part of and improved confidence.  At today’s meeting, we hope that more businesses will come on board to see many more survivors fully restored.’


 

For further information or to support us in the fight against Modern Slavery, please contact our Head Office on press@cityhearts.co.uk or call 0114 213 2063.

Police Raid on ‘Pop Up’ Brothels in Sheffield

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Last week, modern slavery made the headlines in Sheffield and City Hearts were invited by South Yorkshire Police to provide victim support for women rescued from suspected ‘pop-up brothels’ in Sheffield’s city centre.

“Sexual exploitation through trafficking is one of the most prevalent forms of modern slavery here in South Yorkshire” says Det Sgt Nikki Leach, from the force’s anti-slavery unit.

“Every survivor that has been rescued and that we can support, is another life changed. And to play any part of their journey to recovery is a privilege.” – City Hearts Team.

To read the article in the Star, click here.

SLAVES ON OUR STREETS: A major investigation to expose hidden horrors of MODERN DAY SLAVERY.

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SLAVES ON OUR STREETS: A major investigation to expose hidden horrors of MODERN DAY SLAVERY.

“We cannot count them. But the police believe that tens of thousands of men, women and even children, are being kept captive in sub-human conditions. They are forced to work impossible hours for little or no reward in brothels, car washes, restaurants, cannabis farms, and even the houses of the wealthy.

Transported here from all over the world and often unable to speak a word of English, they fear the authorities barely less than the gangsters.”

London Evening Standard. Front Page September 12, 2017

This is happening … in your town, in your city!  But right now, our teams are working to restore the lives of hundreds of men, women and children rescued from their captors.  We cannot turn a blind eye.  Click here today to help restore a life at cityhearts.co.uk/donate

Read the full story here.