The Anti-Slavery Collective in conversation with The Salvation Army

Our co-founders, HRH Princess Eugenie of York and Julia de Boinville, are thrilled to speak to our friends from the Anti-Trafficking and Modern Slavery Unit at The Salvation Army. Major Kathy Betteridge is the Director of the Unit and Emilie Martin is the Head of Operations. 

At the beginning of lockdown, the number of potential victims being referred to The Salvation Army dropped. The UK’s national referral mechanism reported a 14% fall in referrals in the first quarter of 2020. Unfortunately, as Kathy says, this was likely due to a decrease in opportunities for identifying victims during lockdown, rather than a decrease in exploitation. As lockdown is easing, referrals are beginning to increase again, as people are out in public and able to spot the signs of exploitation. Kathy and Emilie both emphasise that it is crucial to be aware of the potential signs of modern slavery, especially now when victims are likely to be more exploited and abused by their traffickers than before. 

Throughout COVID-19, The Salvation Army has focused on maintaining and extending support for survivors already in their service, whilst also preparing further support, beds and accommodation in the case of a potential influx of new people or an outbreak in a safehouse. We are so pleased to hear that, thankfully, the thousands being supported by The Salvation Army have been protected from the devastation of the virus. The stories of hope from both Kathy and Emilie illustrate how The Salvation Army continues to provide quality support, both in the UK and internationally. The dedication and flexibility of their amazing support workers and community has been absolutely key to this. 


The specialist support service that The Salvation Army and their partners run to help survivors of modern slavery recover from their ordeals has been operating all through the pandemic. In April, the Government announced that victims living in safe houses, who ordinarily would have been assisted to move on after 45 days, could continue to have access to this accommodation for the next three months. This was a very welcome decision that allowed The Salvation Army to continue caring for those already in their service. 

Their support work has been business as usual. As Emilie proudly tells us, this is hugely thanks to their incredible key workers, who always have gone above and beyond to rapidly adapt the way that they deliver support and look after the wellbeing of survivors. The team has been incredibly flexible and innovative, finding ways to work remotely where possible. 

Victim Care Fund

The Salvation Army’s Victim Care Fund provides additional support to survivors of modern slavery, filling the gaps in statutory support.

During COVID-19, the fund has helped survivors where other services, such as mental health support, have stopped. The fund has bought preloaded payment cards to enable survivors to receive their financial allowance electronically and without the risk of handling cash. The fund has provided grants for arts and crafts and other activities to keep people in safehouses engaged during lockdown. It has also provided furniture, clothing and baby equipment whilst charity shops and other low cost options haven’t been available. 

In order to continue this much-needed support, The Salvation Army needs your help. Find out how you can help, here

Spot the Signs

During lockdown, as businesses closed and people stayed at home, victims of modern slavery were more hidden than ever. It is vital that people remain vigilant in spotting the signs of modern slavery wherever possible. 

The Salvation Army is currently rolling out one of the largest food distribution services in their history. Thousands more people are in desperate need, including victims of modern slavery. Kathy tells us that potential victims of modern slavery have been identified at The Salvation Army food hubs. Staff at the foodbank were concerned for some individuals, who were malnourished, anxious and without income. Luckily, the staff were trained to identify potential signs of exploitation and reported their suspicions. Now, these individuals are in a safehouse and receiving the support they need.

This is an excellent example of the live-saving impact of people knowing how to spot the signs of modern slavery. The Salvation Army has information on how to spot the signs on their website.

If you suspect that you or someone you have come across might be a victim of modern slavery and in need of support, please call The Salvation Army’s 24/7 confidential referral helpline on 0800 808 3733.

What can you do? 

Make a donation. The Salvation Army’s Victim Care Fund has been an essential resource during COVID-19. As funding for victim support risks being deprioritised in the aftermath of COVID-19, this additional support is vital. Find out how you can help, here

Volunteer. The Salvation Army has a great network of volunteers. Volunteers are needed to do shopping, pick up prescriptions, or even just offer support on the other end of a phone call.Find out more about volunteering opportunities with The Salvation Army, here

As Emilie emphasises, if you can’t volunteer or make a donation, you can raise awareness. Talk to anyone who will listen about the problem of modern slavery. Learn and teach others how to spot the signs. As illustrated above, being aware of potential indicators of exploitation and modern slavery could change someone’s life for the better. The Salvation Army has information on how to spot the signs on their website.

The Salvation Army

The Salvation Army is a worldwide Christian church and registered charity, which has been fighting against social inequality and transforming lives for over 150 years. The Salvation Army expresses its faith through charitable action by working at the heart of communities across the UK and the Republic of Ireland. They have 650 churches and community centres where they offer friendship, practical help and support to some of the most disadvantaged people in our communities.

Their work in the UK includes providing specialist support for all victims of modern slavery in England and Wales through a government contract which was first awarded in 2011. Those supported by The Salvation Army receive access to a wide range of specialist services to meet their individual needs, whether that is within a safehouse or through outreach support. 

From the UK, The Salvation Army partners with 11 countries across Africa, Europe, South Pacific and East Asia. It provides financial and technical support, funded from a combination of Government grants and charitable funds, as well as developing and sharing best practice through colleagues across The Salvation Army and other organisations also engaged in tackling modern slavery. 

If you suspect that you or someone you have come across might be a victim of modern slavery and in need of support, please call The Salvation Army’s 24/7 confidential referral helpline on 0800 808 3733.

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