Coronation Street joins Salvation Army’s fight to end modern slavery

published on 26 Jul 2019

Coronation street Seb and Alina

As Coronation Street is set to be rocked by an explosive modern slavery plot line, The Salvation Army is launching a pan European awareness campaign to help find the real life ‘Alinas’ being forced to work as slaves in the UK and mainland Europe. 

Coronation Street script editors have been secretly working with Salvation Army specialists who provide support to victims who have been rescued from slavery in the UK.

At the same time the shocking storyline unfolds, The Salvation Army is launching a new campaign to help the public spot and report suspicions of slavery in their own communities. Just like in fictional Weatherfield, victims of modern slavery are being forced to work against their will in nail salons but also factories, car washes and construction sites and other common workplaces in every corner of the UK.   

The Salvation Army helpline will also feature at the end of Friday’s episode and it is hoped that the combination of the Coronation Street plot and The Salvation Army’s own advertising will provoke viewers to look for the common signs of modern slavery and know what to do when they see it. 

New character, and love interest to fan favourite Seb, Alina is working in a nail bar on the cobbles. Seb grows increasingly suspicious of Alina’s situation as she becomes more anxious and scared around her boss. 

Actress Ruxandra Porojnicu, who plays Alina, has spoken on the importance of raising awareness of such issues, she said: 

“All these victims, like in Alina’s case, can appear like they are living a normal life. No one would notice they are going through such tough times and they need help unless we look more closely. Victims need to know there are so many people who care for them and support is available when they need it. 

“I am keen to raise awareness about this worldwide problem and not be indifferent. We should all know about modern slavery. We should all spread awareness about subjects that have such a negative impact on people’s life so that changes can be made and help provided. Some people are depending on us and our actions.”

The Salvation Army’s social media campaign uses adverts to show that human tragedy is often behind cheap products and services and the demand for a deal keeps victims within the grips of slave masters.

The adverts trick people into thinking they are going to get a cheap deal on goods commonly funded by modern slavery such as nail bars and car washes. Once the audience clicks through to the advert they will be taken to a landing page featuring stories of real victims of modern slavery who have been supported by The Salvation Army and information on how to be more mindful of the risks. 

Victims seeking help who have been trafficked to or within England and Wales can be referred to The Salvation Army through a confidential dedicated referral line 0300 303 8151 available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The campaign is also running in Sweden, Norway, Latvia and Moldova Netherlands, Iceland, Denmark, Ukraine and Romania. Adverts will launch soon in Italy, Greece, Georgia and Russia.

Major Kathy Betteridge, Director of Anti Trafficking and Modern Slavery at The Salvation Army, said:

“Since The Salvation Army started providing specialist support to victims of modern slavery through the Government contract, we have helped more than 8,000 victims begin the long journey to recovery. We want people to open their eyes and see that people are being forced to work as slaves across the UK. People still don’t believe that this is happening in this day and age and victims are too frightened to escape and ask for help because their traffickers will convince them that no one will help them. We need to break through this so that more people understand the reality of this horrific crime.

“Trafficking impacts all of Europe. In many Eastern European countries people are being tricked into seemingly lucrative work in Western Europe, only to find themselves held against their will by debt and threats to themselves and their families back home.  The Salvation Army has made combatting modern slavery a global priority and this campaign alongside our colleagues in Europe gives us a fantastic opportunity to raise awareness of this important and devastating issue. 

“We are also grateful to ITV for the responsible way in which they have worked with us to ensure that the story told is authentic and sensitive to the reality of the experiences of the thousands of people supported by The Salvation Army. Coronation Street has given us the opportunity to reach out and save more real life ‘Alinas’.”

The Salvation Army in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland have held the government contract to support adult victims of modern slavery in England and Wales since 2011. 

The social media campaign is the brainchild of The Salvation Army’s collective Pan European Anti Trafficking response team, made up of 23 countries, which was set up in 2013 in an effort to prevent, protect and care for victims of trafficking across Europe. The UK and Republic of Ireland territory of The Salvation Army have joined the campaign this week. 

The campaign began earlier in 2019 in Sweden, Norway, Latvia and Moldova and has since launched in the Netherlands, Iceland, Denmark, Ukraine and Romania. Adverts will launch soon in Italy, Greece, Georgia and Russia.