Bao’s story: tackling the exploitation of Chinese women in London

Robyn Phillips is part of the STOP THE TRAFFIK team and coordinates the Modern Slavery & Exploitation Group in West London.

Bao was trafficked to the UK last year. Her husband had incurred debts and they were struggling to support their young son and elderly parents. So Bao’s husband arranged a visitors’ visa and flight to the UK through a ‘gang’ in China, so that she could earn money for 6 months to send home, and work towards getting them out of debt.

So many stories start like Bao’s and sadly, the next chapter is often exploitation.

With over a decade of experience supporting Chinese women who are vulnerable to, or victims of, modern slavery, Caritas Bakhita House, Rahab and Tamar have met many women like Bao.

Coordinating action

These three NGOs are part of the Modern Slavery & Exploitation (MSE) Group, a partnership made up of organisations from every sector in the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and the City of Westminster. STOP THE TRAFFIK coordinates this group and has supported the development of their new report: Improving Our Response to Modern Slavery & Exploitation: Supporting Chinese Women. 

The report is aimed at professionals to help them in identifying and supporting Chinese women who are victims of modern slavery and exploitation. The report explores:

  • the role of fraudulent travel agencies, which often trap people into debt they can’t pay off
  • complications with translation and the importance of professional interpreters
  • the barriers which stop someone asking for help.

Best practice

Some of the women the NGOs have supported have experienced years of exploitation in multiple ways in the UK; they may have begun in forced labour, washing pots in a restaurant for no pay, before being sexually exploited in a massage parlour. These ongoing cycles of exploitation mean there are different people exploiting the women along the way, making it harder for them to trust and accept help from those with the best intentions.

Improving Our Response to Modern Slavery & Exploitation: Supporting Chinese Women sets out best practice, developed by the NGOs, to help police, the Home Office, social workers, community and faith groups to understand the complexities that Chinese women may have experienced and the steps professionals can take in providing support.

The voices and stories of the women in the case studies remain at the heart of the report and continue to shape the work of the NGOs.

Improving Our Response to Modern Slavery & Exploitation: Supporting Chinese Women

Download the full report to learn more about best practice in supporting Chinese women who have experienced exploitation

Download Now
470.62 KB pdf

If you have any feedback on the report or its findings, we’d love to hear from you. Please fill in our anonymous survey here.

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