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Modern slavery and pregnancy

9th November 2023 | From our team

The Clewer Initiative

Pregnancy is a time of increased vulnerability for all women.

However, if you are a victim of modern slavery who is pregnant, the experience is even more traumatic, particularly if the father of the baby is your captor.

In this time of heightened risk and vulnerability, many victims of modern slavery feel so alone and miserable that they contemplate suicide.

A few years ago, Hestia published a report Underground Lives: Pregnancy & Modern Slavery looking at the experience of female victims in London. It revealed that

  • 2 in 3 women received no antenatal care before coming to Hestia.
  • 1 in 3 women were suicidal during their pregnancy.
  • 16% of women had slept rough whilst pregnant
  • 4 in 5 women were estranged from their families at a time they craved the support of their own mothers.

Many of the pregnant women reported feeling isolated, with feelings of shame and fear of honour-based violence preventing them from reconnecting with their families.

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The role of the NHS in providing antenatal care and mental health support for pregnant victims of modern slavery is vital. It is also critical that frontline medical professionals are equipped to know how to care for extremely vulnerable and traumatised women. Hestia's report underlines the importance of the work of VITA Training.

To read the report in full and find out more, click here

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