Helping a survivor
of trafficking or
LEEDS ASYLUM SEEKERS SUPPORT
Know where to find more information on both trafficking and
Understand more about how to spot someone who may be a
survivor of trafficking or torture
Understand what you can do in the moment
Understand the next steps
A short film about modern
Modern Slavery Helpline is 0800 0121 700
Movement or Recruitment by
Deception or Coercion for
The purpose of Exploitation
Find out more using the Salvation Army online awareness toolkit.
when people are forced to work or exploited under fear of
punishment, violence or death eg
Early & forced marriage
(United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading
Treatment or Punishment (1984)
“any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or
mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person as a [way of]
obtaining… information or a confession, punishing him…
intimidating or coercing him… when such pain or suffering is
inflicted by…a person acting in an official capacity.”
Amnesty – schools information pack
Redress – Torture Survivor’s Handbook
Trafficking, torture and LASSN
Most people LASSN works with are unlikely to be actively
experiencing modern slavery or torture.
In your work with LASSN, most people who disclose experiences of
this kind will be disclosing traumatic events in the (recent) past.
What’s a helpful response?
What might be worth avoiding?
People often start to open up when the bottom
rows of needs are met
Disclosure means you’re doing something right
Being present and attentive, and demonstrate
Acknowledge what they’ve said it
Be careful what you offer – don’t make big
Don’t take away someone’s choices
Allow people to go at their own pace
Things to guard against
Sometimes people may attempt to relate to you in ways that they
did their captors – attempting to please you/reward you
Don’t put too much pressure on people to say more than they want
Be aware of the impact on you – seek support with how you feel
Don’t put too much pressure on to people to “move on”
Although it may be upsetting, this usually a means a disclosure is
usually not an emergency.
It is important to discuss this disclosure with a LASSN staff member.
If you think someone is in immediate danger contact the Police.
Evidence for the psychological
effects of trafficking
There is no specific research into the psychological effects of
The psychological models used are often drawn from other places
◦ Stockholm Syndrome
◦ The effects of Torture and Trauma
◦ Survivors of Domestic Abuse
Immersive activities are good at helping people to relax
De-stressing using audio materials on
◦ Anxiety Relaxation
When someone discloses
(taken from stopthetraffick.org)
“They may have complex issues around psychological, emotional and
physical health and well-being.”
Complicating factors (taken from
“The person might not identify themselves as victims as they may see
their situation as ‘normal‘”
“The person might rather remain where they are than return home”
“The person may feel that they are in some way responsible for what
has happened to them”
“The person may have a complex relationship of dependency on or
trust in their trafficker/exploiter.”
Complicating factors – with
“Relationships with traffickers/exploiters can be complex: there can
a belief that they are in love;
fear of what their trafficker/exploiter may do to them or people they
wish to protect, such as family.”
Complicating factors – with
“Someone may be fearful and suspicious of you for many reasons
◦ revealing their status if they are unsure of their right to remain in
◦ sharing their experience out of shame or fear of reprisal;
◦ fear because of their involvement in criminal activity (even
though forced or coerced);
◦ mistrust of authority figures;
◦ mistrust of anyone.”
Complicating factors – what to
The person may be suffering from trauma or shock.
Consider what information you need.
For some victims sharing details is a re-traumatising experience
and one which could be damaging psychologically.
To avoid stressful retelling of the story it is important to maintain
the same point of contact – i.e. deal with the same person.
What are the options for someone
who has been trafficked or
Local services – for survivors of torture
◦ Refugee Council – Therapeutic casework [link]
◦ Solace/Freedom from Torture – Psychotherapy [link]
Local Services for people who have been trafficked
◦ Salvation Army [link] – Information and referral to National
◦ Women’s Counselling and Therapy Services [link] – Leeds
based therapeutic services
◦ Support after Rape and Sexual Violence Leeds [link] –
counselling and support
The National Referral
When someone discloses they
may have been trafficked they
are referred into the National
Referral Mechanism – where
their situation is investigated.
Chart from http://stopthetraffick.org/
National Referral Mechanism
A visual guide to the NRM - http://stopthetraffick.org
What can LASSN do to support
Make sure you speak to a member of LASSN staff who will help you
raise an alert.
If you have concerns about someone’s immediate safety, then it’s
important an alert is raised. Call the Police.
What else should LASSN be thinking about?