Bishop David, Bishop of Manchester, and I visited victims of human trafficking this morning at a home run by the Medaille Trust. The house is in St Chrysostom’s Parish.
We received a lovely welcome from Adele, on duty, and residents. We enjoyed a cup of tea with some of the residents and heard some of their stories which included:
- An African young lady who had been smuggled into the UK for forced labour but then disowned
- A European migrant held as an agricultural worker in England, but then the people using her deserted the workforce leaving them homeless
- A young woman from Eastern Europe forced into prostitution then beaten so severely when pregnant that she lost her child and fled seeking asylum in England
- An African young lady, who had no English, forced into domestic labour, without documents, who seeks refuge now in this country.
The work the Medaille Trust does to encourage and support such people is wonderful. With a small but dedicated staff the trust house gives residents a place to live for a while and at the same time helps them to return to their countries if they wish, or to seek work and an official status in this country. They help residents with basic living, education, help speaking English, health issues, and to understand life in England.
Human Trafficking is shockingly common in our world. It is modern day slavery, and it is estimated it affects over 28 million people.
The Prime Minister, David Cameron has said: ‘We have to have a really concerted approach to stamp out modern day slavery and to make sure that we look at the rights of those who are affected and take a criminal approach to those who are the traffickers and above all call it what it is: slavery.’
“The UK is primarily a destination country for trafficking. Some people are brought directly to the UK and their exploitation commences only after arrival here, while others are brought to the UK in stages and exploited in transit countries before ultimately arriving in the UK. The majority of trafficked victims in the UK are from Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa and South America.” (From the Medaille Trust website)