Signatories to the letter include the outgoing UK Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner Dame Sara Thornton and leaders of key anti-slavery charities in the UK.
The Ukrainian welcome text would include essential safety information, plus the help that is on offer should anyone need it.
It would be triggered the moment an individual arrives in the UK (pictured: Ukrainian refugees at Lviv railway station).
The letter has been sent to the CEOs of Vodafone UK, Virgin Media O2, EE and Three UK – Ahmed Essam, Lutz Schüler, Marc David Allera and Robert Finnegan.
Here is the text of the letter and the signatories.
Text of letter to mobile network providers
Please provide a welcome text to Ukrainian refugees arriving in the UK that includes essential safety information – it could help thousands avoid the very real threat of modern slavery and other forms of exploitation.
We are writing to ask you to do a very simple thing that will help thousands of Ukrainian refugees avoid the very real threat of modern slavery and other forms of exploitation when they arrive in this country.
Please could your company provide a welcome text on your network that includes essential safety information, plus the help that is on offer should anyone need it.
As you’ll know millions of Ukrainian people, mostly women and children, are fleeing the war in their homeland, with thousands of them coming to the UK.
Many of them will have no connections here, few belongings with them, and possibly very little financial security. They are extremely vulnerable – and unfortunately, that means they are at risk of exploitation by criminals.
The situation is urgent. Already there have been reports of trafficking of refugees in countries adjoining Ukraine. We want to make sure the UK does all it can to avoid such a situation happening here, so we are asking that you please act immediately.
A simple welcome text, in Ukrainian and English, triggered the moment Ukrainians arrive in the UK and switch on their phones, could make all the difference.
To speed things up, we have suggested some information you could include in the text below.
Please let us know your response to our request by return. For ease, please can you email [email protected]
We look forward to hearing from you.
Tamara Barnett, Director of Operations, Human Trafficking Foundation
Stephen Bell, CEO, Changing Lives
Kathy Betteridge, Director, Anti-Trafficking and Modern Slavery, The Salvation Army
Paul Bott, CEO, SJOG Hospitaller Services
Amber Cagney, Development Manager, West Midlands Anti-Slavery Network
Luke de Pulford, CEO, Arise Foundation
Jason Foo, CEO, BBD Perfect Storm
Red Godfrey-Sagoo, CEO, Sophie Hayes Foundation
Nick Grono, CEO, The Freedom Fund
Christian Guy, CEO, Justice & Care
Martin Hancock, CEO, BCHA
Meg Heath, Co-CEO, Palm Cove Society
Wanjiku Mbugua-Ngotho, Acting Chief Executive, Bawso
Peter McAllister, Executive Director, Ethical Trading Initiative
Elysia McCaffrey, CEO, Gangmasters & Labour Abuse Authority
Tim Nelson, CEO, Hope for Justice
Ed Newton, CEO, City Hearts
Caroline O’Connor, CEO, Migrant Help
Jasmine O’Connor OBE, CEO, Anti-Slavery International
Tauhid Pasha, Acting Chief of Mission, International Organization for Migration (IOM) UK
Dr Rosie Riley, CEO, VITA
Patrick Ryan, CEO, Hestia
Dame Sara Thornton, UK Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner
Dr Dora-Olivia Vicol, CEO, Work Rights Centre
Andrew Wallis OBE, CEO, Unseen
David Westlake, CEO, IJM UK
Suggested UK welcome text for Ukrainian refugees
Welcome to the United Kingdom. Your safety is a priority. Please read this vital information.
As you leave the airport, port or train station:
- Don’t give your passport, mobile phone or residence permit to anyone
- Don’t leave children with anyone you don’t know
- Don’t give money to anyone offering you work, accommodation or transport
If you are concerned for your safety in the UK, please call for free the UK police on 999 or the UK Modern Slavery & Exploitation Helpline on 08000 121 700
For free travel options Click here [this will link to a new website]
For useful and trusted information Click here [this will link to a new website page detailing Citizens Advice, Helplines, relevant services etc]
The UK stands with Ukraine