Human Trafficking is the movement of people by means such as force, fraud or deception, with the aim of exploiting them. It is modern day slavery. Thank you for reading unseen(uk)'s October newsletter!
Seasons greetings from everyone at unseen!
Thank you so much for your support for unseen over the past year. We've continued to go from strength to strength, and this is very much due to the unstinting efforts of everyone involved - from people donating gifts, to schools raising money for us, to individuals doing crazy stunts for us, and of course our fabulous staff team at our safe accommodation WATER Project. It all helps, and we are hugely grateful. 

And very special thanks go to the charitable trusts and organisations who have supported us this year: 
Allen Lane Foundation, Comic Relief, Network for Social Change, Salvation Army, Sir Halley Stewart Trust, The Tudor Trust and Working Links.

Fun and games, please

The staff at the WATER Project have been working hard to develop new activities for the women we support, and this issue we’d like to ask your help in sourcing arts and crafts materials. We’re particularly looking for: card-making materials and decorations, plus fabricthreadribbonbuttons and fun additions for sewing sessions. As well as giving women an opportunity to immerse themselves in a fun activity and help them forget their troubles for a few hours, arts and crafts can also provide new skills and boost confidence.

We’re also on the hunt for games such as Scrabble, Draughts, Dominoes, Pictionary or puzzles etc.

And, although it's getting close to the big day, if you’d like to send in Christmas parcels or New Year gifts, please do get in touch. Our postal address is PO Box 2933, Bristol BS6 9FP, and email address is Thank you!
unseen's co-founder receives prestigious McWhirter Award

Last month, unseen’s co-founder Kate Garbers was presented with a prestigious Citizen Award by Iain Duncan Smith on behalf of the McWhirter Foundation. The foundation acknowledged Kate’s unstinting work in the anti-trafficking arena by saying: “She is a visionary, a driving force and a determined professional. Her sole aim is to do the best for others whose lives have been blighted by exploitation and misery. Her commitment is exemplary and her contribution to both national and international society is such that she unequivocally deserves public recognition." 

In her acceptance speech, Kate dedicated her award to the people on the frontline, “to unseen’s staff team who tirelessly support trafficking survivors through their distress and recovery”. It was a fantastic evening held at Middle Temple Hall, one of the four Inns of Court in London. Afterwards, Kate said: “I feel both humbled and privileged to have been given this award”. 
Netherlands shares pioneering child protection techniques
You may have seen recent media coverage of shocking child trafficking and child sexual exploitation cases that have taken place here in the UK, and we have posted some of these stories on our Facebook page. unseen has been involved in tackling child trafficking for the past year, advising government on best practice and ensuring the UK is compliant with Europe’s Convention on Action Against the Trafficking of Human Beings. At present, there is a severe lack of specialist care for child victims and, in a bid to exchange knowledge and ideas with other countries, last month we visited The Netherlands.

Nidos is the sole provider of safe accommodation for unaccompanied minors and trafficked children in The Netherlands, and invited unseen to see how it tackles child trafficking. They shared with us their innovative, pioneering approach which is to provide all the necessary support and safety children need by assigning a guardian to every child they encounter. unseen met with Nidos’ Chief Executive, legal team, guardians and staff, and visited the projects and shelters they run, as well as a school that has been established with a curriculum tailored specifically for trafficked minors. It was an inspirational visit.

unseen also met with the Dutch Bureau of the National Rapporteur on Trafficking - an independent body that acts as an intermediary between government and other parties to investigate and research trafficking issues. It focuses on improving practices and, in the words of the Head of the Rapporteur’s Office, “every European country should have an independent rapporteur”.

It was an invaluable and insightful trip and gave unseen much food for thought. Thanks go to Nidos and everyone involved.

£14k raised at Uncover the Unseen fundraising event!

On a crisp October evening, 165 guests gathered at the Bath Pump Rooms to celebrate unseen’s achievements and hear about its ambitious plans for the future. New and old supporters enjoyed an inspiring evening of talks, uplifting music from the Boxettes and enthusiastic bidding in our prize auction.

In total, after costs, we raised just over £14k, which is fantastic for our first fundraiser! Thank you to everyone who supported the event and gave so generously.

Q&A with our Key Worker, Clare

  • 1. How long have you been a Key Worker with unseen? I started working for unseen in May 2011, just before the women’s WATER Project opened.
    2. What motivates you about your job? When new residents arrive, they have come from horrendous, abusive situations or they have been picked up from the airport unaware of what may have lain ahead. They come to us desperate to find sanctuary, to return to their families or to find their way in the world as free, independent women. I am in a privileged position to support these women to do that.
    3. What have you found the most difficult about your job? When a resident cannot break free from the influence of their traffickers or the people who have abused them. We have had two instances of residents attempting to return to their trafficking situation. It could be argued that this is their choice but, in my experience, the residents were so brainwashed or terrified that they genuinely believed it was their only option. 
    4. What’s the nicest thing about your job? The people. The staff are some of the most supportive, inspirational people I have ever met and the residents are a joy to work with.
    5. What’s the best outcome for a woman you’ve worked with? We've supported a young woman from Pakistan to access the education she was so eager to get. Not only is she now going to English and maths classes in the community, but she also inspired us to set up in-house education sessions in maths, English, computers, arts and crafts and job skills. To date we've awarded 15 certificates to residents, raising their confidence and acting as a bridge to community learning.
    6. Why do you think unseen’s different from other charities? Because of the support it receives. Our amazing staff team work closely with our residents to identify needs and, once identified,
    the resources are then so kindly donated or sourced. This empowers the women because for most of them resources have been scarce, and this material, financial and educational poverty has very often led them to us in the first place. With the support from individuals and organisations we have been able to visit museums and the cinema (first time for most), give education sessions and also provide new residents with clothing and toiletries when they first arrive.
    7. What do you do to relax when you leave the office? I love creative writing and write my own fantasy and adventure stories. I also love watching stand-up comedy, getting out and about into forests and mountains and eating cake!

University play highlights trafficking and sex tourism

The University of Essex’s East 15 Acting School recently staged a new play The Last Resort to raise awareness of trafficking and sex tourism. Its two main themes explored the lives of migrant workers whose faces remain unseen, and the dark side of tourism around the world. Set against the backdrop of the hospitality industry, the audience were taken into the highly polished world inhabited by business people, tourists and gap year hedonists, and asked to consider what it takes to create that world. The third year BA World Performance students, directed by Jules Tipton, received high praise for their efforts. Thanks go to Samuel Toye who encouraged the audience to support charities such as unseen while visiting the play in Southend-on-Sea.
Fundraising special mentions

Magical effort: Thanks go to magician Jay Fortune who raised £252.87 from his Magic Moments variety show in Wandsworth, London, on Sunday 7th October. He also entertained guests as they arrived to explore the Roman baths at our Uncover the Unseen event.

Fabulous feet: One of our more unusual gifts we received recently was 100 pairs of shoes, kindly donated by Mr & Mrs Shears! It’s fantastic to be able to offer our residents who come to us with few possessions the chance to choose a brand new pair of shoes, and will help boost their confidence and self-esteem.

Catwalk  capers: We’re delighted to report that University of Bristol students have chosen to donate profits from their annual fashion, music and dance show – the largest in the UK – to unseen. The Fuze event will take place on 15th and 16th February 2013. Tickets go on sale in mid January at

Wedded bliss: Special thanks also go to Matthew West and Sally Millar who chose to ask for donations to unseen instead of receiving wedding gifts when they got married this summer! They raised nearly £500, which is the equivalent of providing a woman arriving at our WATER Project with a Welcome Pack of toiletries, Clothing and Care Packages during her stay with us and a course of eight counselling sessions. 

If you’re celebrating a special occasion, or planning a sporting challenge, it’s easy to set up a giving page at or If you need help with your fundraising ideas, do email us, or visit our website for more ideas. 

From everyone at unseen, we wish you a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year.

Gift Aid

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