Offering critical support to survivors of human trafficking
It was a visit to Thailand by Jill Robinson and Elizabeth McKee that prompted the realisation that human trafficking was a little known crime that had a firmly established presence in Northern Ireland.
On their return to NI, and as the pair acted to raise awareness in the local community, they encountered their first survivor of human trafficking. It became apparent that direct bespoke support, beyond the limited statutory arrangements, was critical to enable and empower individuals who have survived the horrors of modern slavery aspire to a better future.
Helping survivors live fulfilled lives
Flourish was created in 2014 with the aim of helping survivors not only recover from their traumatic experiences but also to regain self-belief and new skills so that they can lead safe, independent and fulfilled lives.
Since then, this dynamic and compassionate charity has been witness to the passing of the Human Trafficking and Exploitation Act in 2015 and the establishment of the PSNI Modern Slavery Human Trafficking Unit. Flourish is represented on the NI and UK cross party committees for combatting human trafficking and has received an award for the outstanding contribution they have made.
Delivering essential services for individuals and families
Flourish has assisted 137 [includes direct family members]people from over 16 countries overcome harrowing ordeals of forced labour, sexual exploitation and domestic servitude. Services are very much client-led but can include advice on benefits and housing, access to therapies, helping to find employment, English classes, liaison with legal and medical professionals, life skills and helping reunite family members.
Depending on their circumstances, an individual may draw on support up to 4 or 5 times a week
Supporting survivors every step of the way
Each client is appointed a caseworker and/or a volunteer befriender. Many clients are dealing with the debilitating effects of the trauma they have suffered as well as being isolated by virtue of their immigration status, language barrier and cultural stigma. The aim is to build confidence, reduce vulnerability and empower individuals to integrate into society.
Depending on their circumstances, an individual may draw on support up to 4 or 5 times a week at the outset of their involvement with Flourish. As they make progress Flourish slowly steps back. Only once someone is able to speak the language, are financially independent, emotionally stable and to some degree are integrated into the community and are feeling settled, does Flourish begin to consider withdrawing support. That said, clients know that if they ever hit a crisis point, that Flourish will always support them.
Since 2014, Flourish NI have
individuals overcome harrowing ordeals
Offered survivors the opportunity to re-build lives and enjoy a brighter future.
Continuing to fight this deplorable crime
This deplorable crime which preys on the most vulnerable in society continues to grow in Northern Ireland as demonstrated by the three fold increase in potential victims identified in the three years to 2019. Whilst awareness is increased, it is apparent that the services of Flourish will continue to play a vital role in ensuring survivors of this crime are afforded the best possible opportunity to re-build their lives, avoid re-exploitation and enjoy a brighter future.