A Black Country Women’s Aid safe house for victims of modern slavery now has an updated and refreshed shower room thanks to a generous grant from the B&Q Foundation.
Modern slavery transcends age, gender and ethnicities, and can include victims that have been brought from overseas, and vulnerable people from the UK being exploited or forced to illegally work against their will. Victims may be controlled or held through threat or use of force, coercion, abduction, fraud, deception, and abuse of power or vulnerability. Many victims of modern slavery escape with only the shirts on their backs and can be left destitute without support.
Black Country Women’s Aid Modern Slavery support service includes refuge and outreach for victims of modern slavery and human trafficking. Since 2011, we have supported over 600 women and men of over 30 different nationalities across the West Midlands, working in the community and providing refuge accommodation.
Providing a clean, secure and welcoming environment that gives victims somewhere they can sleep, shower and feel safe helps to build trust with people whose faith in others has been severely damaged by their experiences of unfathomable abuse and trauma.
Many of the victims we support have never had a safe, private space before until they come to our refuge. They may have been imprisoned in brothels or cannabis farms, or forced to sleep in cupboards or under stairs. One woman told us:
“When I came here they gave me a key. I had never had a key to a room of my own before.”
When victims are removed from exploitative situations, BCWA is there for them. Often leaving with little or no belongings and no access to food or finances, we set up rooms with clean pyjamas and clothes, toiletries and food. The first thing victims want to do is wash and change, and thanks to the B&Q Foundation, they can now shower in brand-new facilities.
Anna Peters, B&Q Foundation trustee, said:
“We’re delighted to have been able to support Black Country Women’s Aid with a grant to improve their shower facilities. We award grants to charities looking to improve the spaces and places that people in need call home and it’s great to hear the positive impact these refurbishments have made to the wellbeing of the women they support.”
Click here to head over to the B&Q Foundation website to find out more about the work they do.