Help others to speak out about modern slavery like Mo Farah

published on 15 Jul 2022

Commissioner Anthony Cotterill, leader of The Salvation Army in the United Kingdom and Ireland, has thanked Sir Mo Farah for his courage in speaking out about his childhood spent in domestic servitude.  

However, the Church and Charity is warning that sadly his experiences are not unusual as there are victims of modern slavery hidden in plain sight across the UK right now.  

Commissioner Cotterill said: “The slavery survivors we support in our network of safehouses need time, specialist support and lots of patience and care to piece together their stories. As Mo Farah shows, it can take many years before someone feels safe enough to speak out.

“In time, the people we care for describe enduring years of physical and mental abuse, how their families were threatened and their documents and identities forcibly changed. I want to thank Sir Mo Farah for finding the courage to speak out about his experiences. He has helped shine a light on thousands of untold modern slavery stories being lived across the UK today.

“The detail that sticks out for me in his story is that it took a PE teacher to notice a frightened and incredibly vulnerable child in his class and spoke out on his behalf. 

“Please ask yourself; could I spot someone who could be a victim of modern slavery and would I know who to tell?

“In the past ten years more than 15,000 survivors have been supported by The Salvation Army and our partners supported by a UK Government contract. Among these are more than 1,700 people who were forced, like Sir Mo, into a life of domestic slavery and we know there are more we need to reach.

“Please familiarise yourself with the tell-tale signs of modern slavery and our confidential referral hotline. We will be sharing information on our social media channels to in the coming months to help give more people the confidence to recognise the signs that someone could be forced into slavery. When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.

“The Salvation Army, is praying for peace and healing for Sir Mo Farah and his family. We also pray that that more victims have someone to speak out on their behalf so they can start their long journey of rescue, recovery and reconciliation.”

Spot the signs

You could come into contact with a victim of modern slavery without even realising; however there can be some tell-tale signs.

Some signs are physical:

  • They may look uneasy, unkempt, or malnourished.
  • They may have untreated injuries.

Some signs are less obvious:

  • Someone paying for their travel.
  • Someone speaking for them.
  • Fearful of talking to other people.
  • Perhaps they are picked up and dropped off from work at unusual times.
  • They may not be sure of their own address.

If you suspect that you or someone you have come into contact with may be a victim of modern slavery and in need of help, phone our confidential referral helpline on 0800 808 3733 and is open 24/7 and free to call.

Survivor of modern slavery

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