Christine: a 'Good Neighbours' volunteer

A friend persuaded Christine to begin volunteering for the scheme. She said: "Life looked very, very bleak. When anyone spoke to me, I would cry, so I didn’t want to go anywhere. It reached the point when I would phone my daughter to ask her to bring any shopping for me. I didn’t want to meet people. My friend kept knocking on my door [to take me out, and then to get me to volunteer at The Salvation Army] and I was starting to get really, really annoyed with her, but didn’t want to upset her so gave in as I wanted a quiet life!"

May's friendly face and listening ear

Now she volunteers at the BHI Community Project – a weekday drop in for people who are in need in the community. They are open from 10 am to 4.15 pm Monday to Friday, and also open on Sunday ahead of the church service at Boscombe Salvation Army in Palmerston Road, Bournemouth. At the project May makes cups of teas and her renowned “May Day” – a sandwich, sausage roll, crisps, cakes and biscuits extravaganza each Wednesday - and is a friendly face to support and give guidance to the people who come through the drop in’s doors.

Andreea's courageous journey

Her traffickers took advantage of her vulnerability with a promise of well-paid work in the UK, which seemed too good to refuse.  However the moment she arrived, Andreea’s passport was taken from her and she was forced each day to go to a different location selling flowers on the street or begging with a card stating she was collecting money for charity. 

Hai's journey

He was held captive in an attic for around six years - he lost count after three years - where he was fed once a day and persistently sexually abused.

When the door was left unlocked one day, Hai managed to escape and was then found collapsed from exhaustion in a telephone box. After being taken to hospital, the police came and referred Hai to The Salvation Army.

On arrival at the safehouse Hai was cowed, compliant and totally vulnerable.  He had no will of his own and was unsure of who he was or what he could do.

Fredek's escape

“Things were bad in my life in Hungary.  I was looking for a way to make a new start. When someone I knew told me about factory work in the UK, which could pay £2,000 a month, I thought I had nothing to lose. I was wrong. I lost everything.”

Hadiza's escape

The family scraped a living by selling bean cakes by the side of the road. Over the course of five years, Hadiza and her mother were befriended by a man who would regularly buy their goods.

Emancipating Rashmi

When Rashmi was separated from her parents at the age of five during conflict in Sri Lanka, a Salvation Army girl’s home cared for her and gave her a good education. This enabled Rashmi to qualify as a nurse, a job she really loved.  No-one could know then that this would not be the only time The Salvation Army was to come to her rescue.

Ferda's journey to freedom

Before Ferda was trafficked into the UK from the Czech Republic, he had been living on the streets for two years with no income, after falling into depression when his wife died. He was in his early sixties. He had lost touch with his children and so gladly accepted the help of a man who befriended him, offering somewhere to live and a part-time job. The subsequent promise of better work in the UK also sounded like a good opportunity.

Victim's Stories

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.

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