Over the last decade modern slavery in the UK has been on the rise and it is estimated that there are as many as 100,000 victims.* Women make up about a third of all victims of modern slavery in the UK, with many commonly forced into sexual exploitation and domestic servitude. Hestia supports two thirds of all women who have been identified as potential victims. Around half

of these women are mothers, with children who often witness their mother’s exploitation, who are born as a result of sexual exploitation or who are born soon after their mother has escaped slavery.

Last year we supported 1,200 dependent children but we estimate that there could be over 5,000 vulnerable children in the system, with possibly many more who are unknown to us. Very little is known about these children and the intergenerational impact of the trauma they and their mothers have been through.

What is clear from our research is that for those women and their children who manage to escape modern slavery, the journey to recovery is a long and difficultone. For children, a mother’s trauma can have a deep and lasting impact on their lives. Our research found that mothers who have survived trafficking facedpsychological consequences from the experience of trafficking. They need and deserve greater protection, support and care from the wider system. Where our staff were able to help secure this support, often only after assertive case worker advocacy, women and their children could begin to flourish.

Our research is based on the testimony of 20 women (and indirectly their 43 children) who had been victims of modern slavery and have been supported by Hestia’s Phoenix Project, alongside interviews with their case workers, professionals and experts working in this area.

Forgotten Children: The Intergenerational Impact of Modern Slavery - Hestia, 2021 DOWNLOAD

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