Peterborough modern slavery victim 'will never forget' support of outreach team to help turn her life around

The woman suffered a horrific ordeal before ending up on the streets, including being forced to give up her newborn baby.
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A modern slavery victim who ended up sleeping rough to escape the horrors of her ordeal, has described how she 'will never forget’ the help she was given from Peterborough City Council’s outreach team to turn her life around.

The woman is now living in secure accommodation with her partner and three children and building a new life.

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Her current situation is a far cry from a decade ago when she was brought to the UK from her native Slovakia by a Peterborough family on the promise of a better life.

The city's Outreach team saved this woman from the streets after a horrific ordeal.The city's Outreach team saved this woman from the streets after a horrific ordeal.
The city's Outreach team saved this woman from the streets after a horrific ordeal.

Instead, she lived in miserable conditions, was forced to work in prostitution and was made to give up her newly-born child.

The family stole thousands of pounds from her earnings and forced her to cook, clean and even shoplift if she failed to do so they subjected her to beatings.

She eventually escaped from their property and began sleeping rough, which led to the Outreach team meeting her in 2019 during their regular rough sleeper checks.

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The woman began to slowly rebuild her life following support from Kelly Slack, the council’s Rough Sleeper Outreach Manager who helped her find temporary accommodation and support at the Garden House which is run to help rough sleepers.

After hearing about her experiences, the team contacted the police and two of the offenders were jailed earlier this year.

She said: “When I was on the streets, I wanted to give up, I had never slept rough before and everything was horrible. My life now is 100 percent better than before.

"I am happy now with my partner and children – I want to give them a better life than I had.

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“My previous life was very bad and tough, but I have to thank Kelly, the council and the Garden House for helping me.

"I will never forget Kelly for all that she has done for me and appreciate everything she has done.

“The council does a good job for rough sleepers, especially when things are bad in winter and freezing weather, they are always there to help.”

Kelly Slack, the council’s Rough Sleeper Outreach Manager, said: “It took time to build a rapport and gain her trust, but we never give up on anyone and want to give all rough sleepers the opportunity of support.

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"She had suffered experiences that you wouldn't wish on anyone and I'm glad she now has the chance of a positive future.

"We meet all kinds of people sleeping rough and it can happen to anyone. Our team is here to help and signpost people to the right services, so they can get the support they need with the aim of getting rough sleepers into accommodation."

For more information about the Outreach Team and to find out about the services they are able they offer to support rough sleepers in Peterborough, you can visit the city council’s website.