Big Give Christmas Appeal 2021 – double your donation for one week only

man with cold hands Big Give campaign 2021
Christmas fundraising appeal for vital UK Helpline

Unseen has launched a Christmas fundraising appeal for its Modern Slavery & Exploitation Helpline, just as its latest figures reveal a 20% jump in calls.*

For one week only from 30 November – 7 December, any donation received will be doubled as part of the annual Big Give match-funding scheme.

The Helpline relies solely on the support of our generous supporters. Will you dig deep this Christmas to fund our Helpline and help desperate people escape from exploitation? 

The Modern Slavery & Exploitation Helpline provides expert support and information to thousands of people, helping victims of modern slavery find safety, any time of day or night, 365 days a year.
Since its launch in October 2016, our free, confidential Helpline has received over 28,000 calls and nearly 8,000 contacts through its website and app.
During this time, it has indicated more than 24,000 potential victims of modern slavery.** 

Uniquely, the data the Helpline gathers is used by government, police, business and other charities to inform anti-slavery strategies across the UK, and to better support victims and survivors.

“We’re seeing growing demands on our Helpline services and it’s vital we’re able to continue to offer a way out of exploitation for some of the most vulnerable people in society,” says Dugald McNaughtan, Head of Fundraising at Unseen.

“We rely on the generosity of the public to keep the Helpline going, so I urge people to donate during the Big Give at the beginning of December, so that every pound will be doubled.”

“Let’s offer some hope to people trapped in unbelievably cruel situations this Christmas.”

The Helpline in action – Admir’s story

If it weren’t for a compassionate member of the public and the Modern Slavery & Exploitation Helpline, Admir’s future would have looked very different.

Just hours before Admir** was found sleeping rough, he’d taken the brave decision to run from his traffickers in a bid to free himself from exhaustion and the physical and mental abuse he’d suffered.

He’d been trafficked from Albania to the UK to work on a farm in Buckinghamshire.

Aged 55, he was forced to work 14-hour days, seven days a week, on-call at night, and threatened if he didn’t comply. With only a squalid caravan to sleep in, he had no bathroom, no shower, intermittent electricity and was barely paid – if at all – for his painting and cleaning work. Ashamed and exhausted, he was near breaking point.

Finally, he decided to risk it and managed to escape. Thankfully, a passerby found him and, together with a local charity, called the Helpline. Admir was finally free of his horrific ordeal.

The Helpline was a linchpin for Admir. He needed expert care for the trauma he’d gone through and help to take back control of his life. The Helpline made sure he was linked to all the right support and, crucially, ensured the police had expert statements so they could investigate his case and bring his perpetrators to justice.

*2021 quarter one to 2021 quarter two
** All figures are to October 2021

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Justine Currell

As I came to understand more about the issue, including through a visit to an Unseen safehouse, I knew I needed to do more to stop this abuse and exploitation.

For the last five years of my Civil Service career, I was the Modern Slavery Senior Policy Advisor in the Home Office and led on development of the Modern Slavery Act, including the transparency in supply chains provision and business guidance.

I joined Unseen to lead the development of the Modern Slavery & Exploitation Helpline, and Unseen’s work with businesses. I am regularly called upon to present at national and international conferences and use my experience of working with Ministers to influence other governments internationally to take action to address modern slavery and, in particular, business supply chain issues.

In my spare time I enjoy keeping fit, music, reading and travelling.

Andrew Wallis

What ultimately compelled me to act was a report on how people from Eastern Europe were being trafficked through Bristol airport to the USA. Kate Garbers, who went on to be an Unseen Director, and I wrote to all the city councillors, MPs and the Police Chief Constable challenging them on the issue. The challenge came back to us: this city needs safe housing for trafficked women. And so Unseen began.

But we never wanted Unseen to be just about safe housing. We wanted to end slavery once and for all, and that remains our driving focus.

I chaired the working group for the Centre for Social Justice’s landmark report “It Happens Here: Equipping the United Kingdom to Fight Modern Slavery”. This is now acknowledged as the catalyst behind the UK’s Modern Slavery Act of 2015. It was a great honour to be awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours that year. On the other hand, I’ve also been described as “the loveliest disrupter you could ever hope to meet”.

This job has taken me from building flat-pack furniture for safehouses, to working with businesses to address slavery in supply chains, to delivering training, raising awareness and advising governments around the world.

When not at work, I enjoy travelling, spending time with my dog Harley, cooking, supporting Liverpool and Yorkshire CC, music (I’m a former DJ) and endurance events such as the Three Peaks Challenge and Tribe Freedom Runs – which I vow never to do again. Until the next time.