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Victim's Stories

Malnourished, disorientated, and scared - Harry was saved from the clutches of traffickers.

When they found me - I could breathe for the first time in years.

Since leaving school, 60-year-old Harry has always had a job, following the example of his hard-working miner father who served in World War II. While Harry never married, he lived contentedly with his mother until she died when he was 57. At this point his life changed dramatically. 

Harry found it hard to cope with responsibilities on his own and, after an emotional and mental breakdown, he became homeless. At this vulnerable time, while he was queuing for a bed at a night shelter, two men approached him with an offer of work, accommodation, food and alcohol.

Harry decided to join them.

He was made to share a damp caravan with three other men and put to hard physical work six days a week from 6 am to 10 pm on groundwork and landscaping projects. When he complained that he never received his pay, his traffickers beat him and forced him to sleep outside.  Harry was too frightened to escape knowing that his traffickers had a large extended family.

Then he was sold for £3,000 to another family and moved to a different area.  After suffering these conditions for four years, Harry eventually escaped whilst working on a tarmac drive and went to the police for help.  They directed him to a Salvation Army homeless unit where he was identified as a potential victim of trafficking. For Harry’s safety, as his traffickers were still at large, he was taken to a safe house in another part of the UK.

Malnourished, disorientated, and scared, Harry was given medical and other assessments, and was shortly able to relax and begin the process of focussing on his future. Harry said he felt he could “breathe for the first time in years”. Staff sorted out fraudulent benefit claims and bank accounts made in Harry’s name and helped him find a place in a self- contained supported flat.

Harry now spends his retirement volunteering in a Salvation Army charity shop and enjoying social activities in his local community. He continues to receive support in an on-going investigation of his traffickers and remains grateful for all the care and direction he has received since his escape.