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In 2019 it was announced that the UK Modern Slavery Helpline was under threat of closure, due to promised funding not having been received. Since 2016, this helpline – unique in its kind- has been providing a means for victims, the public, statutory agencies and businesses to report concerns and seek advice about something they may have heard or seen which could indicate a situation of exploitation.

Established and run by the anti-trafficking charity Unseen, the Helpline is a free and fully confidential and independent service, open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and which works closely with law enforcement agencies.

Given the importance of this Helpline and its indispensable work, at ASIOX we wanted to do our part to help raise funds and awareness for this incredible publically available service. So we decided to host a fundraiser. It would be an evening with drinks and canapés, live music, a physical theatre performance, a presentation on the topic, a photographic exhibition by survivors, a raffle and more.

We were lucky enough to be joined by Unseen’s CEO Andrew Wallis, who gave a powerful talk about the scale of the issue in the UK and shared about Unseen’s important work. An excerpt from Justice in Motion’s piece Bound also took centre stage that night. A compelling and powerfully truthful and masterful depiction of human trafficking there unfolding before our eyes, captivating our entire audience.

We were delighted to raise £5491.50 that night and all proceeds were donated to Unseen.

I went to the Modern Slavery Helpline event because a friend asked me. It was well organized, informative, surprising, inspirational and inviting. In the first half of the event, I mingled and browsed the various stalls, feeling welcomed and at ease. The second half of the event was presentational. Caroline Shephard (Chelliah) hosted an informative talk by Andrew Wallis and Anja Meinhardt gave a poignant artistic dance performance. I found this content inspirational. Before the event, I hadn't realised how real and pervasive modern slavery is. Well done Unseen on arranging this. - Nick C.

The ASIOX anti-trafficking event I attended raised my awareness to modern slavery which I previously knew very little about. I felt moved and deeply upset by what I learned. It was really helpful to be informed on how to identify victims of slavery and who to report it to. It taught me to question the production line when products are very cheap and to research which brands to trust over others. -Rhoda Cooper

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