sex trafficking campaign

Help us break the cycle of abuse by supporting our campaign, so we can prevent exploitation before it begins

help us break the cycle of abuse

For the third year running, Unseen’s Modern Slavery & Exploitation Helpline has seen an increase in reports of sexual exploitation – last year, it was 15%. Almost always the victims are women, and each case represents a life ripped apart.  

At Unseen, not only do we help women rebuild their fractured lives at our safehouse, but we also use data from our Helpline to build an accurate picture of traffickers’ recruitment and control methods so government and law enforcement can break the cycle of this horrific abuse before it starts. 

Please help us continue this vital work.  

A gift of just £20 could go towards a Helpline Advisor, who can answer calls for help and get a victim to safety. 

The data collected from these phone calls will also be used to develop better strategies to stop exploitation happening in future.

Paula's story

When Paula* came to our Women’s Safehouse, she had been exploited all her life. “I had no control over where I could go,” she says. “I had my teeth knocked out by the butt of a gun, and rape and abuse were normal to me.”  

It’s hard to comprehend what a lifetime of this type of treatment can do to a person’s mental health. Now aged 30, Paula is only just able to talk about it, but she’s held some details back – they’re just too painful to relive. 

new beginnings

With Unseen’s support, Paula is now attending college. She’s also cooking and volunteering with a local charity.

Paula says: “I just want to work, to earn my own money, feel safe, that no one else wants to hurt me or use me – that is all.” 

how you can help build a better future

Paula has chosen to share her story because she wants to stop this abuse happening to others.  

You can help today by donating to our campaign so that Unseen can support more women like Paula, and use our expertise to end this cycle of abuse before it starts.  

thank you for your support

Call the UK Modern Slavery & Exploitation Helpline on 08000 121 700

* Names and places have been changed to protect identities 

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.