Sang's story

Sang was befriended by someone he thought he could trust. This man told him he could help him find a good job in the UK, and helped arrange his travel.

Upon arrival, Sang was met at the airport, forced into the back of a car and taken straight to a cannabis factory. He was beaten, humiliated, and physically locked up. His traffickers told him that if he tried to escape, they would kill his parents.

Sang spoke no English so it was hard to seek help or advice.At one point he did manage to escape, but was arrested by police who did not recognise him as a victim. They returned him to his exploiter, who brutally beat him again.

He felt helpless, and for several years endured everything they did to him, but one day he was severely beaten and locked in a room with no idea if he would ever be let out. Sang feared for his life and turned to a Vietnamese web forum for help. Here he found Unseen’s Modern Slavery Helpline’s number.

He was immediately connected to an interpreter and was able to tell Helpline Advisor Charlotte his story, including his fear that if the police were involved, they might end up releasing him back to his exploiter who this time might really kill him. Charlotte reassured Sang that she would explain his situation to the police and that he would be protected.

With Sang’s permission Charlotte contacted the local police force explaining that Sang was in fear of his life and that he was a victim of modern slavery requiring support. Police swiftly arrived and took Sang into safeguarding.

The next day, Sang arrived at Unseen’s Men’s Safehouse. He was able to provide more information about the exploiter and his cannabis business, which the safehouse staff referred to the police. Later, the police confirmed that a full investigation was underway.

Sang is now receiving the expert support that he needs to recover. His key worker arranged a GP appointment within 24 hours of him arriving at the safehouse, and he continues to receive treatment for his injuries. Sang suffers from poor mental health and trauma but engages with regular counselling sessions and one-to-one key worker support to try and overcome these issues.

He is learning English through our in-house courses and is working hard to improve his physical health, using the safehouse gym, and cycling around the local area.

Sang has become friends with another Vietnamese resident in the house, which has had a good impact on his mental health as he is able to share his experiences, language and culture with another survivor. Together, they enjoy playing table tennis, chess and mini-golf.

Staff helped Sang and his friend to find Vietnamese food and ingredients in the local area, and they share their passion for food with the rest of the house, cooking meals for everyone to enjoy.

Safehouse Manager Doug says ‘together they've been practicing recipes and cooking for everyone. This has given Sang a real boost. Between them, they’ve brought a new light and energy into the house, and it's having a really positive effect on everyone else, too.’

Staff are supporting Sang to receive legal support; he wants to eventually be reunited with his family after five years apart.

If you’d like to support Unseen and the work we do with victims of trafficking like Sang, you can make a single donation or set up a regular donation to Unseen right now. Thank you. Your donation really will make a difference.

*names changed to protect identities