Shared Lives Plus have recently joined a partnership with Crisis, the national charity for homeless people and Hestia, the main organisation supporting victims of modern slavery in London. We believe Shared Lives could be a new model of supported housing for women who have experienced modern 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 accommodation, due to vulnerabilities including homelessness, destitution and learned behaviour; rough sleepers are systematically targeted by traffickers. Victims and potential Victims of modern slavery have a right to accommodation and support.
We are calling for Shared Lives providers across the country to help us develop a framework to provide safe and secure accommodation via Shared Lives schemes to women who have escaped modern slavery and are entitled to care. We are especially interested in piloting this in London, where our partners have a strong presence.
Ali Miller (who also leads our Domestic Abuse project) has been appointed to the role of Development Officer for the Modern Slavery project, funded by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport and will be working two days a week. Ali would love to hear from any schemes who are interested in working with this group, and especially welcomes interest from schemes in Greater London.