Since 2020, we have supported Justice and Care (one of our key project partners) to develop and expand their outstanding Victim Navigator programme. This project sees specialised team members embedded in police forces across the UK, helping to bridge the gap between victims of slavery and the criminal justice system.
In this blog, we learn more about Alana, a victim of trafficking who was exploited across London over the course of two years, with Justice and Care’s help Alana escaped her traffickers and went on to testify against them in court.
Alana* was 18 years old when she left her home in Poland and upon arriving in the UK she became homeless. She answered an advert for work, but the address she was taken to was a brothel and she was forced into sexual exploitation within an hour of arriving.
Over the next two years, she was exploited at locations all across London, forced into debt bondage,continually moved from client to client, and raped day after day.
In 2020, Alana escaped and told the police that she had been a victim of sexual exploitation. The Met Police then led an investigation into the criminal network and found that the criminal network also had links in Surrey and Northampton.
As a Navigator deployed in the Met Police, I started supporting Alana, building trust, giving her specialist care and helping her to provide the police with vital information throughout the investigation. A few months ago, she bravely told her story in court and her evidence was central to the convictions of five defendants from a Polish Organised Crime Group who were charged with multiple modern slavery offences.
By telling her story, both the jury and judge were able to understand the full physical and psychological effect this exploitation has had on Alana’s life. As a result, the two main perpetrators have received sentences of seven and eight years in prison. Click the link below to read more about the case.
Since then, Alana’s evidence in a further two countries where defendants are being prosecuted led to two defendants pleading guilty to modern slavery offences. They await sentencing.