To mark Snowdrop’s 6th birthday this May, we worked together with True Glass Photography to create a collection of images called ‘Aspects of Change’. Each image focuses on an object which represents the barriers our clients face every day.
Caseworkers work with their clients one-to-one, to support them to overcome these barriers and to promote independent living. This support is not time limited, it is needs led. When a survivor is referred to the Snowdrop Project, caseworkers, together with their client, develop a care plan which focuses on 6 areas of support. This helps us to monitor how survivor’s are progressing and highlights any difficulties they may be facing. The collection of photographs were devised to reflect our 6 areas of support. Without support, survivors of human trafficking are vulnerable to re-exploitation and further problems down the line. In the DWP’s 2017 report, it was recognised: “some victims face destitution or even a return to their enslavers because they have no ongoing access to support”. We provide ongoing long-term support in South Yorkshire to tackle this very problem.
Below are three of the images from the Aspects of Change exhibition and their corresponding captions.
The Waiting Game
“There was a lot of waiting it is difficult to get letters. Getting my ID is late. Snowdrop spoke to MPs to help me, so hopefully I will get it in 2 weeks or so. I’m ok because of that”
Casework client who has received refugee status after 2 and a half years.
It seems now more than ever, the climate for asylum seekers is a hostile one. Currently, even when the UK government recognises an individual as being a survivor of human trafficking or modern slavery, they are not given any automatic asylum protection. They have to navigate the punitive asylum system, alongside coping with the difficulties and trauma of being a survivor. When a survivor is refused their asylum decision, they face another huge set back and any progress they have made is undone. Getting refugee status is a long uphill battle; a challenge which is extremely draining and traumatising for survivors. There is a feeling of their lives being out of their control. Even though they have escaped their traffickers, they are still not free.
One Size Fits All…
One of the most frustrating obstacles facing survivors, is the inflexibility and bureaucracy of systems. When trying to claim disability benefits, access housing or even set up a bank account, many of our clients are asked inappropriate questions. Here are just some questions our clients have been asked by professionals in the past:
‘How many men were you expected to sleep with every day?’
‘If you are gay, can you prove you have been to a gay night club whilst being in the UK?’
‘Why don’t you know the address where you have been living for the last year?’
Survivors are continually asked these kinds of questions by multiple organisations for years after they have left their exploitation. So often survivors have no privacy and face a lack of compassion in the systems they are trying to navigate.
Letters of Consequence
“The safe house had stopped supporting me when I got the negative decision from the Home Office so when they accepted me and when they told me the reasons they believed I was a victim of human trafficking I was so excited it really boosted my faith”
Casework client May 2017
A letter from the Home Office can cause our clients anxiety; the letters use technical language which is extremely difficult to understand, especially if English is not a person’s first language. Survivors regularly come to the office in a state of panic to ask what letters mean because they are so difficult to understand, but they recognise the logo of the Home Office. Caseworkers will help clients read through their letter, often with an interpreter to explain what is contained in the letter. Or they will support them when they go to see their solicitors.
The language used in these letters is also very direct and can often be upsetting to read the reasons why the Home Office does not believe your story and does not think you have any reasons to claim asylum.
Where can I see Aspects of Change?
You will be able to see the full exhibition as part of the Migration Matters Festival in June, at the Art House – more details to follow soon! As part of this week long event, we will also be showing the One Lens, Countless Stories exhibition: a collection of images created by 9 women, who are all survivors of human trafficking in various forms and are currently receiving support from the Snowdrop Project.
Support the Snowdrop Project
We rely on the generous support of passionate people like you, to help support survivors to live their lives no longer defined by their past. Monthly donations make planning for the future a possibility for us and the people we support. Become a regular giver today and help unlock futures.
Thank you to John at True Glass photography for taking these photos for free, find out more about his work here.