The Anti-Trafficking and Labour Exploitation Unit (ATLEU) in Sheffield has recently received £1,000 funding from the Commissioner’s Community Grant Scheme to offer advice sessions to people in South Yorkshire who might be victims of human trafficking or modern slavery.

The funding makes available high quality legal advice for victims of modern slavery in South Yorkshire who need extra help before they enter the government’s process to identify victims, called the National Referral Mechanism (NRM).

Dr Billings said: “Modern slavery and human trafficking are terms that many still struggle to understand. But people are trafficked to the UK with the promise of a new life or job, or to escape danger or poverty.  The reality may be very different and people find themselves exploited in many ways, for example, as domestic workers, agricultural labourers or in to prostitution. Others are forced into criminal activity.

“Once rescued, however, they remain vulnerable and have limited options. ATLEU gives them legal advice and support.

“The funding from my community grant scheme is for a limited pilot that will give victims of trafficking and slavery a greater understanding of the processes they will  go through once they leave exploitation. It will help build trust in the system and authorities, and facilitate their entry into the NRM on a genuinely informed and consensual basis. This will improve victims’ ability and willingness to engage with the authorities including the police.”

Carita Thomas, ATLEU’s solicitor said: “ATLEU’s advice is independent and confidential.  We are here to give honest advice about whether the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) might be useful to someone and help them to understand their options.

“Our service may be of most benefit to people who are concerned about going into the NRM if they have a complicated immigration history or people who have not had a good experience of working with government agencies before.

“You can approach us about anyone who might want advice, even if they are British citizens or have secure status in the UK.”

To make a referral into ATLEU’s project please email: [email protected] or call 020 7700 7311 to speak to Carita if the case is urgent.

To find out more information on ATLEU and how they help victims of human trafficking and modern slavery, you can visit their website here