Ella’s Home works with women exiting situations of trafficking and exploitation. As well as providing accommodation for women recovering from trafficking and sexual exploitation, they offer outreach support to women across London and beyond as they work past their previous experience.
Here, Emily Chalke (Founder and Project Lead) tells the story of their inception and their progress.
In 2012, I returned home from Thailand, where (for the last 5 ½ years) I had been living and working alongside women who had been trafficked into the country. Shortly after my return, a woman called, “Ella”, who I had met in a brothel in Bangkok, contacted me to say that she was in London and needed help.
Ella had left a brothel in west London and was very unwell. She needed somewhere safe to stay but, as she wasn’t prepared to tell her story, getting Ella into a government-funded safe house was near impossible. The next three months were excruciatingly difficult. Ella “didn’t want to get the people who had trafficked her into trouble.” She told me they were good people, “they waxed her legs and did her nails.” Having been sexually exploited since a teenager, it was impossible for Ella to realise these people behaved in this way so as to continue exploiting her for their gain.
Not long after this experience with Ella, I met with Kahaila. They were in the process of setting up Luminary Bakery (a bakery providing employment and training for women from disadvantaged backgrounds). They said that they would support me and if I wanted to work on opening a home, they would help to make that happen.
Ella’s Home opened its doors in January 2016 and since that time we haven’t looked back.
- We have worked with 29 incredible women from 13 different countries, enabling them to lead lives free from re-trafficking and exploitation.
- We have expanded our work beyond the home to support women in the community
- We have recognised the huge value and need to work with women on a long-term basis, so that they feel settled, secure and known
‘Women’ Design by Rachel Price, exhibited @Ella’s Home
To raise the necessary funds to establish Ella’s Home, we organised a run. Rachel Price, who was helping to develop our branding was instrumental in making it happen and together we ran from Edinburgh to London, 400 miles in 16 days. Consequently, we can literally say that blood, sweat and tears went into the opening of Ella’s Home, and having seen how running can provide such a powerful tool to build, inspire and engage communities, I am thrilled to engage with TRIBE Freedom Foundation and the TRIBE community. As a team, we are so excited to be involved in everything they are doing and achieving.
Visit www.ellas-home.co.uk to learn more about our work or follow us on Facebook @ellashome.charity to keep up to date.