A victim of modern slavery is set to become the first in Scotland to be offered a permanent job through the Bright Future programme, thanks to a collaboration between Migrant Help and the Co-op.

The Co-op has developed a programme which offers a pathway to employment for victims of modern slavery. Under the scheme, known as Bright Future, the Co-op provides survivors with a paid work placement leading to a non-competitive interview. The initiative was recently launched in Scotland where the first person to be enrolled in the programme is a client of Migrant Help's Victims of Slavery Support Services. 

In 2014, Frank (not his real name), who is now in the midst of his paid work placement, was unemployed and living in Romania with his wife and young family. Desperate to find work, he contacted a friend living in the UK who then introduced him to someone who offered him employment and accommodation. He was sent a ticket for a flight to Glasgow. On arrival, he was met at the airport by a male who took him to an address and he was told he would be charged £75 a week in rent.

Frank was then forced, under the threat of violence to him and his family, to open multiple bank accounts for the traffickers to use. Knowing that this wasn't right, Frank tried to break away from the control of the group without success. Eventually, when he had sold all of his belongings in order to fund a deposit for accommodation with a reputable landlord, Frank was able to contact the police. Frank was then put in touch with Migrant Help who have been supporting him since he escaped his traffickers. 

Migrant Help and the Co-op teamed up to help Frank obtain a job as part of the innovative employment programme. Frank has been doing extremely well in his placement and will soon take place in a non-competitive interview. If Frank is successful, he will be offered a job within the Co-op’s Food business.

John Merralls, Head of Human Trafficking and Victims of Slavery Support Services at Migrant Help said: “Migrant Help is fully supportive of the Bright Future programme. Employment is a very important part of regaining self-confidence and sense of independence for survivors of human trafficking."