Refuge supports Evening Standard’s ‘Slaves On Our Streets’ campaign


Refuge CEO Sandra Horley CBE was interviewed by the evening Standard about how refuge has supported victims of modern slavery. See the interview here. 

Refuge is supporting the Evening Standard’s campaign to expose the realities of modern slavery in London, reach out to victims and raise funds for specialist services

  • Estimated 46m people enslaved across the world (Walk Free Foundation)
  • Government figures suggest there are between 10,000 and 13,000 victims in the UK (National Crime Agency’s 2016 end of year report)
  • 71% trafficking victims worldwide are women and girls (UNODC 2016 Global Report)

On Tuesday 12 September 2017, London’s Evening Standard launched its ground-breaking ‘Slaves On Our Streets’ campaign, to raise awareness of modern slavery in the capital. Refuge is working with the Evening Standard and ITV News to reach victims and raise funds for the charity’s vital specialist support services. Sandra Horley, CBE, chief executive of Refuge, says:

“I’m delighted that Refuge is a partner in this ground breaking new campaign to tackle modern slavery on the streets of London and reach out to victims who urgently need protection.


“Every day, Refuge sees victims who are trapped, terrorised, beaten and raped. They are traumatised, isolated and unaware of their rights. With 45 years of experience in supporting victims, we know that what they need is confidential support from independent organisations like Refuge, in their own language, to get to safety and rebuild their lives.


“It is unacceptable that modern slavery thrives in London in 2017, and we must shine a light on this evil trade and ensure that victims are helped at the earliest opportunity. We look forward to working with the Standard and our other partners to tell the stories of London’s victims and bring much needed change.”

ITV News

On Monday 11 September, Refuge’s Modern Slavery Service was featured on ITV News at 10pm. Julie Etchingham interviewed Sandra Horley and Thanh, a Vietnamese national who was trafficked to the UK and who experienced modern slavery. Thanh has since been supported by Refuge to rebuild her life, free from fear. Julie Etchingham described her experience as ‘the most harrowing story of human trafficking I’ve ever heard.’

Thanh said:

“After 15 years old, they like me to sleep with other men…sometimes 10, sometimes more than 10 in one day.

My back is not straight, partly because how I’ve been used as a sex slave.”

Watch the clip and read more about Julie’s interview.

CASE STUDY: Anh’s* story

One of Refuge’s specialist community outreach workers tells Anh’s story:

“Anh* had been trafficked into forced labour ten years ago. The traffickers regularly subjected her to physical, financial and psychological abuse. She had insecure immigration status and her traffickers ensured she would not seek help by regularly threatening deportation.


“Anh was deeply traumatised – she was very tearful and suffered nightmares every night. She told me she found it difficult to look in the mirror because all she could see was a very old and grey person looking back in the reflection. She worried constantly about her health deteriorating and feared that nobody would be able to identify her if she died or had an accident. “No-one will know who I belong to”, she told me.


09“At regular key work sessions, communicating in Vietnamese and at her own pace, I helped her explore the abuse she experienced and accept that it was not her fault. Slowly, she became more confident, and felt able to share more about her experiences and how they were affecting her on a daily basis.


“I was able to refer her to specialist counselling and organised several emergency appointments with an immigration lawyer. We also obtained temporary accommodation and helped her to access a weekly personal allowance. Now, my client tells me she feels there is hope for the future. She can smile again.”


*Names have been changed to protect anonymity

To access confidential support call Refuge’s Modern Slavery Service on: 020 7395 7722 or email:

To donate towards Refuge’s modern slavery work please: text REFU40 to 70070 (with donation amount – up to £10); call 020 7395 7771; or visit our Human trafficking and modern slavery page.