Chloe was referred to Ashiana last year as a victim of Human Trafficking, Modern Slavery and sexual exploitation. She was first brought to the UK on a working visa believing she was to work as a childcare nanny, and instead was tragically deceived, abused and trapped for many years. All her hopes and expectations were shattered, she was betrayed by those she thought she could trust. Despite eventually finding safety she suffered many long-lasting effects.
She suffered symptoms of PTSD (flashbacks, nightmares & hallucinations), depression, anxiety, low-self-esteem, and she had thoughts of suicide. In her mind, it was as though she was still trapped and would be trapped forever, this was having serious consequences on her ability to function.
Her worker visited her frequently and spoke to her several times a week for emotional support and encouragement. Together they set up an action plan on the things Chloe would like to do to help her start to re-gain control of her life, such as college, volunteering and joining in with activities in the community. Chloe was also supported to contact relevant services such as the GP and counselling services where she was provided support by a mental health worker.
She faced other challenges related to her asylum seeker status, such as not being able to work to help her feel independent and difficulties finding volunteering opportunities which accepts volunteers with asylum seeker status. These limitations and ongoing delays around her asylum process, made it difficult for Chloe to fill her spare time, the uncertainty gave her anxiety.
Fast forward eight months since the start of support at Ashiana and Chloe is now waiting to start college and will volunteer in a hospital after COVID-19 lockdown is over. She is thinking about her future career ambitions and how she would like to help other people and give back to the community. She is also trying to find her family who she was separated from so that she can reunite with them. She has begun to take control over her life and has developed positive thinking techniques and coping mechanisms from all of the support she has received. She is now beginning to look forward to what her future could hold. She does still suffer and is frequently reminded of her experiences; however, she now has many more good days than bad days and continues to make progress.
Ashiana are a Sheffield based organisation providing practical and emotional support in a holistic, gender and culturally sensitive way, as well as accommodation for women and children who have survived human trafficking. Ashiana have provided this case study to give an insight into the experiences of survivors and the support available to those who have been trafficked across Yorkshire and Humberside, North East, East Midlands and the North West England regions.