Caring for our community and the wellbeing of those around us can make a world of difference. The UK-based charity, Medaille Trust, provides refuge and freedom from modern slavery, supporting victims of this heinous crime. But what exactly is modern slavery, and how can we help those who have been impacted by it?
According to the Global Slavery Index and the National Crime Agency (UK), approximately 136,000 people are estimated to be trapped in some form of modern slavery in the UK. The 6,933 potential victims found in the UK in 2018 were trafficked from 130 different countries. The most common forms of adult exploitation are labour exploitation, sexual exploitation, and domestic servitude.
Jess Conlon, the local co-ordinator for the Medaille Trust’s Moving On project in London, says modern slavery can happen to anyone, regardless of race or gender. “Often they don’t understand that they are being exploited,” she says. Some indications that someone is being exploited include bruises, signs of anxiety, and being paid very little or not at all. If you suspect someone is being exploited, it’s important not to confront them, as this could put them in danger. Instead, call the Modern Slavery helpline for guidance and support.
The Medaille Trust rents a room at Hornsey Vale Community Centre for its work on the Moving On project. They use community spaces to host activities that promote wellbeing, health, education, employability coaching, sessions for understanding their rights, and how they can take control of their lives. “At the Moving On project, we aim at empowering people to do things independently. We support them until they reach that point,” says Jess.
Hornsey Vale Community Centre is a perfect fit for the Moving On project’s needs, Jess says. “It’s a lovely community centre, in a nice area, and presents a safe and welcoming space.”
Watching survivors reach their goals and spread their wings is incredibly rewarding. “It’s about compassion for the client and passion for the work,” she adds.
If you’re interested in supporting the Medaille Trust and their work, there are many ways to get involved. Financial and material donations are always appreciated, and there are volunteering opportunities as well. These might involve administrative work, or being an activity facilitator such as offering yoga or pilates sessions or knitting classes.
Caring for your community means looking out for those who may be vulnerable or in need of support. The Medaille Trust is doing important work to help survivors of modern slavery, and by supporting their mission, we can all make a difference in the lives of those around us. Let’s work together to create a more caring and compassionate world.