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Supporting victims of modern day slavery

Modern slavery is a serious crime in which people are coerced or deceived into a situation where they are exploited, for the purpose of making profit.

It takes many forms including trafficking for sexual exploitation (prostitution, strip clubs, escort work and pornography), domestic servitude (working as cleaners, carers or nannies) and forced labour in work such as nail bars and car washes, among others. Women who escape modern slavery are particularly vulnerable to re-exploitation by predatory individuals who may offer women accommodation.

We have seen how Shared Lives can transform the lives of survivors of modern slavery, helping people to rebuild and recover. We see in our consultations that more survivors would prefer to live in ordinary homes and feel they would benefit from supportive shared living.

In 2019 Shared Lives Plus joined a partnership project with charities working with survivors, including CrisisHestiaBawso and Belfast Women’s Aid.  Funded by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport’s ‘tampon-tax’, we developed the Shared Lives model to support women survivors of modern-day slavery in to supportive shared living. This concluded in January 2021.

As well as developing Shared Lives for survivors of modern slavery with care needs, we also scoped out a new model of shared living called KeyShare. KeyShare is a new concept of supportive accommodation for people who have low-level or no formal care needs but who would benefit from living in an ordinary household with people who understand and have empathy for their needs. There are more details about KeyShare in the project report below.

Below you can find out more about what is involved in hosting women survivors of trauma, in the report by National Development Team for Inclusion (NDTi) ‘Hosting women who have experienced trauma’. You can view our comprehensive ‘Modern slavery guidance for shared living’, which outlines the key definitions and benefits of Shared Lives and KeyShare, as well as responsibilities of those involved, in supporting victims of modern slavery. You can also find the Consultation responses from our work with Shared Lives schemes and modern day services, to better understand the considerations for supporting survivors in shared living.

Our Development Officer, Ali Miller, leads on this work. You can contact Ali on 07867 452159 or alison@sharedlivesplus.org.uk