Most people know the British Red Cross as an international aid organisation, supporting people across the globe affected by poverty, drought, tsunamis or hurricanes. What few people realise is that we also support victims of trafficking and modern slavery in the UK.
This largely involves providing people with clothing, food and emotional support immediately after they leave exploitation. But over the past year we have also been testing a model of long-term support to counteract the lack of government support available to survivors of trafficking.
Until recently, once someone is recognised by the Home Office as having been trafficked, they were entitled to only 45 days of basic accommodation and financial aid. After this period all support stops, but we know that survivors are still a long way from recovery.
Through our front-line work we see the affect that this lack of support has on people. It can leave them facing poverty, struggling to cope with complex mental health needs and – most worryingly – at risk of falling back into the hands of their traffickers.