Donate a smartphone

A phone, a lifeline - Lena's story

When Lena escaped her exploitation she had very few belongings with her. After months of waiting, someone donated a phone to Unseen which we were able to give to Lena. This single act had a huge impact on her recovery and independence.

Lena’s support workers helped her set up an email account, which has greatly increased her control over her life. She is now able to book appointments, talk to her solicitor and communicate with other support organisations whenever she needs to.

Lena’s accommodation is in a remote location, and she often has to use public transport. Not having access to maps or translation services caused her great anxiety, as she could easily get lost and would not be able to ask for help because of language barriers. Having a phone means that she can now go to new places and attend appointments with confidence. Having access to translation services has increased her involvement in her trafficking case, as she no longer needs to wait and rely on third parties to translate legal documents for her.

Lena can also use apps to find activities and events in her local area, search for jobs and volunteering opportunities and talk to her friends and family back home to let them know that she is safe.

Having a phone hasn’t just benefited Lena, it is helping her young son too. He can now watch cartoons and use online education tools, so he can have the same opportunities and develop in the same way as other children his age. Having a phone brings a sense of normality to Lena’s life, and without it, her recovery process would not have been possible.

*Name and some details have been changed to protect identity

Give a phone, change a life

With a smartphone, survivors of modern slavery can:

  • Access maps to navigate unknown cities and confidently use public transport
  • Access translation services so they can communicate with others
  • Set up an email account so they can access online banking, universal credit, apply for jobs or book appointments
  • Call the police, the Modern Slavery Helpline and other support services for help if needs be
  • Use apps such as Headspace, often recommended by survivors' counsellors to improve their mental health.
  • Take photos – many survivors we support have young children, and many don’t have any photos of them
  • Use social media to talk to friends and family if safe to do so, and access online support groups

So please, send us your old phones!

Phones need to be:

  • In good, working condition with a working charger
  • Wiped – no personal information or photos left behind. Factory settings restored.
  • Unlocked – no passwords or pin numbers
  • Preferably have the SIM unlocked so they can work on any network, but if not, a little note saying what network it is on

Please post your phone to Unseen Admin, 101-103 first floor, Deben House, 1-5 Lawrence Hill, Bristol, BS5 0BY. If you want to use a secure postal service, please send phones via Royal Mail using a signed for/tracked option. Apologies, but we are unable to pay for the cost of postage.

If you would like more information, please get in touch with admin@unseenuk.org or call 0303 040 2888.