Our people

Senior Leadership Team


Andrew Wallis, CEO

@andyw1

The truth that slavery still exists was brought home to me when a colleague in my previous job returned from a work trip to Ukraine recounting how he had been on the scene as a woman was about to be recruited by traffickers; fortunately he had managed to prevent it. What compelled me to act was a report on how people from Eastern Europe were being trafficked through Bristol airport to the USA. Kate (Garbers, now 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’, 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 safe houses (I must admit the wardrobe is still a bit wobbly), 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 (or I go stir crazy!), 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.


Kate Garbers, Director

@KateGarbers

While volunteering in Ukraine in 2007, I was told by staff that children leaving the orphanage would be met at the gates by people promising them opportunities of work and money abroad that would never transpire. They were being trafficked abroad and exploited.

I decided to take the plunge; give up my teaching career and see what I could do to help.

Setting up Unseen from its foundations to the fully functioning organisation it is today, with multiple projects, amazing staff teams tackling slavery at a range of different levels and from different angles is one of my proudest achievements.

My work has taken me round the world from the Vatican (where I stayed inside the Pope’s home!), to South Africa, Jordan, Hungary, Ukraine and Romania. Closer to home, the nature of this role has led me to car washes, brothels, prisons and detention centres, including police visits to locate and speak with potential victims of trafficking and to interview perpetrators and victims.

I’ve advised the UK government on its strategy and approach and how they impact survivors, received an Influencer Award, and presented a TEDx Talk.

Outside of work I play Ultimate Frisbee and compete at a high level. I also enjoy watching rugby and spending time with family and friends and our cats Betty and Wilma, which we fit in between renovating our house.


Justine Currell, Director

@JustineCurrell

I joined Unseen in May 2016 following a 28-year career in the civil service. During that time I held a variety of operational and policy posts working across a number of UK Government departments, culminating in being asked to lead on the human trafficking agenda at the Home Office. As I came to understand more about the issue, including through a visit to the Unseen safe house, 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 Helpline and Resource Centre, and Unseen’s work with businesses. I am regularly called upon to present at national and international conferences and use my experience and knowledge of working with Ministers to influence other governments internationally to take action to address modern slavery and, in particular, business supply chain issues.

I am also the Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for Bedfordshire, supporting policing and other colleagues through a genuine partnership approach to tackle this insidious crime.

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


Stuart Mellis, Director

@StuartMellis

After qualifying as a Chartered Accountant with Smith & Williamson, I spent six years advising listed- and PE-backed businesses before moving to Somerfield Stores as Director of Financial Reporting. After Somerfield I joined a fast-growing high-end bike distribution business, Saddleback Limited. Not only did this get me into cycling in a big way but I also got to work in a business as it grew up and put foundations in place to enable it to expand further.

I have since operated as FD and CFO of a number of business across multiple sectors including distribution, ad-tec and latterly property services. I’ve loved working across different sectors and believe that when you move you bring the experience you have gained elsewhere and apply that to your new situation. I am a great fan of asking those “stupid questions” and not taking anything for granted.

I was at a point in my career where I was thinking about purpose when the opening for a Finance and Operations Director at Unseen came up. I was already aware of the issue of modern slavery (my wife has been an Unseen supporter for years) but as I read more about it my response was clear: This is wrong. It should not be happening. How do we stop it?

I knew this was my opportunity to bring my skills and passion together, and I joined the team in October 2017.

When I’m not at work I love seeing new places and having the opportunity to stop, people watch and drink coffee, wine or gin depending on the time of day (although with 2 boys aged 9 and 7 that doesn’t happen very often). Sitting on a bike riding up some hills, ideally in France on a sunny day, is pretty hard to beat despite the pain involved! Big sports fan, supporter of that fantastic blue and white football team from North London. I love technology (although I’m probably on my phone too much) and catching up with friends.