In the UK there are huge criminal gangs who kidnap and enslave people in their thousands. The Salvation Army is at the forefront of the fight against modern slavery in the UK.
Maria came from a good family in India, and when her employer suggested that she came to the UK to learn English, they thought it was a golden opportunity to improve her job prospects. But it was a trap.
The man who met her in London, supposedly to enrol her in her language course, was a crook. He gave her a drugged drink that left her unconscious.
When she woke up she found herself alone and locked in a room. She had no idea where she was. She had been sold. This was the start of a long ordeal where Maria was beaten, starved and forced to sleep with seven to ten men every day. She feared her traffickers would kill her if she tried to escape.
Things got so bad for Maria that finally she did pluck up the courage to escape, and found a job working illegally in a restaurant. At least it was better than prostitution or begging in the street. But then, suddenly, rescue came. Maria was arrested when the immigration service raided the restaurant, and as soon as the officers realised she was a victim of modern slavery, they placed her in the care of The Salvation Army.
Maria was terrified when she was arrested, and it took some time to convince her that her nightmare was over. Fortunately we have a team of trained Salvation Army volunteers who accompany victims of modern slavery to their safe house. It was one of these volunteers, a retired teacher called Diana, who drove Maria to her new temporary home, talking to her kindly and reassuring her all the way.
At the Salvation Army safe house, the manager Alison and her team of specialist staff made sure Maria had everything she needed, from toiletries to counselling. But more than anything, we befriended her and helped her recover from her terrible ordeal.
With our help, she began to overcome the shame she felt at the life she had been forced to lead. And soon she saw that she had a new life ahead of her. With encouragement and a little financial help from The Salvation Army, Maria is now taking the English course she wanted to take when she first came to England, and she intends to return to India to be a teacher. She says: ‘I have a future now, and I owe it to The Salvation Army.’
For us in The Salvation Army there is no limit to what we will do to help people who are suffering – whether they are homeless, abused or facing terrible hardship. Please support our Autumn Appeal so we can help change lives.
For us in The Salvation Army there is no limit to what we will do to help people who are suffering – whether they are homeless, abused or facing terrible hardship.
Please support our Autumn Appeal so we can help change lives.
A gift of:
- £27 could provide three hours of one-to-one support work in one of our residential centres for a homeless person who is trying to make a fresh start in life.
- £63 could pay for a specialist trauma counselling session for a victim of modern slavery.
- £114 could meet the cost of a Salvation Army officer to run one of our community centres for three days and keep the doors open to welcome vulnerable people.
Please make a donation to our appeal today using our secure online donation form - make a donation.