Survivors: Life Beyond Exploitation

At Causeway we support thousands of people who have experienced modern slavery and human trafficking to get their lives back on track.

Sometimes they come to us hours or days after leaving exploitation, sometimes it can be months or even years before they tell anyone what happened to them, and are referred for support.

Everybody’s journey is different, but one thing everyone agrees on - they are not what happened to them. Their abuse or trauma does not define them.

They are people first, survivors second, and each one has goals, hopes, and dreams for a future that goes beyond recovering from the shadow of modern slavery.

Our campaign, Survivors: Life Beyond Exploitation is a platform for people who have experienced exploitation to tell their own story, and to use their own experiences to raise awareness of modern slavery and trafficking in the UK, as well as to support others, and show that there is life beyond exploitation.

Armin's story

Armin was a successful chef in Iran, and was excited to be offered the role of Head Chef at a hotel in the UK. Arriving on a skilled worker's visa, he was looking forward to his new position, but soon found himself being exploited for free labour after his employer refused to pay him.
Trapped in the role due to the restrictions on his visa, and reliant on his employer for food and accommodation, Armin worked 13-hour shifts, seven days a week, for free.

Sabrina's story

Sabrina's childhood was mired by domestic violence, and at the age of eight she was made to carry drugs for family members. Following a stint in foster care, she was placed in a hostel at the age of 16, where an older male resident groomed her into an abusive relationship. From there she was forced to deal drugs around the country, and ended up in prison. She now uses her experiences to help other vulnerable young people break the cycle of violence and grooming.

Sosa's story

Sosa was nine when he was taken into care following violence in his childhood. But it was here that he was groomed into an inner city gang that encouraged him to deal drugs and carry weapons for older members. In his desire to belong, his life descended into chaos and danger. He was threatened with a gun aged 11, given his own gun aged 12, and by 13 found himself in a young offender’s institution. He is now studying for a criminology degree and is a keen advocate for other young people who are victims of trauma and poverty, and who are vulnerable to criminal exploitation.

Emily's story

Emily* was 11 when an adult neighbour persuaded her to deal drugs for him. She was soon expelled, and without the routine and anchor of school, found herself alone for many hours of the day, and vulnerable to the attention of criminal gangs and drug dealers. She went on to experience a decade of criminal and sexual exploitation, where fear and drug abuse kept her in the clutches of traffickers who moved her, and other young girls, around the UK for sex. Ten years later, Emily is living quietly with her daughter, and is passionate about improving services and outcomes for other young people vulnerable to exploitation and trafficking.

Ilja's story

A troubled childhood led to Ilja moving into the care system, where, at 17 she was given social housing, and left to fend for herself. She was targeted by criminal gangs who took over her flat, then forced her into years of violent sexual exploitation that saw her moved around Europe, terrorised, assaulted, and in constant fear for her life. Decades later she is now a successful businesswoman and desperate to help other young women avoid the pain and abuse she went through.