Harriet's Story

As a child growing up in Newcastle, Harriet suffered domestic violence at the hands of her brother. She started spending as much time as possible away from home and missed a lot of school. She developed friendships with older teens and was exposed to alcohol and drugs, which eventually led to the start of an addiction.

Harriet was approached a member of a local gang. She was offered money and free drugs and alcohol in return for picking up drugs and dropping them off. It wasn’t long before Harriet's addiction grew. She was forced into prostitution alongside drug-running, none of which she was paid for.

She became one of the thousands of British children in this country exploited through ‘county lines’ drug trafficking.

This abuse continued for a number of years until she was eventually arrested, recognised as a victim, and referred to the Unseen Women’s Safehouse.

Case workers at the safehouse quickly took care of her immediate health needs and ensured she had access to medical care, sexual health clinic and drug and alcohol services. She also received support to access counselling to help her start to come to terms with what she had been through.

Harriet has her whole life ahead of her, and is determined to rebuilt it.

Children like Harriet are exploited every single day by ‘county lines’ drugs traffickers and without the support and advice from the UK Modern Slavery Helpline or our safehouses and outreach services, their stories are left unseen. Our Spotlight training programme for schools helps young people understand more about child exploitation and how to protect themselves and their friends.

And without kind and generous donations from our supporters, we would not be able to support vulnerable young people like Harriet.

You can help to continue this vital work right now by giving a single donation or setting up a regular monthly donation to Unseen. Your gift really does make a difference to the lives of those we support. Thank you.

*names changed to protect identities