Women in the Shadows

Did you know that in 2018, one third of victims identified by the UK Modern Slavery Helpline were women?

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For too long, in the shadows of the world’s cultural and economic systems, women and girls have been overlooked and taken advantage of.

This package has been designed to help us shine a spotlight on the increasing exploitation of vulnerable women and girls in our communities. The course explores three specific areas – sexual exploitation, labour exploitation and county lines – and invites us to gain a deeper understanding of the suffering experienced by many women as well as reflect upon our possible complicity and indifference. It also reminds us of the continuing vulnerability of many in our society and looks at how victims can be supported to live independent lives, free from fear and abuse.

The material in this booklet can be used for individual education or as part of a more formal online course. You can use the short films in their entirety or in part to invite a group to think about these challenging issues. We are extremely thankful to everyone who has helped bring this course to fruition and we hope it will help to raise awareness and understanding of the suffering of others and stir us to reach out to more women in the shadows.

About the resource

At the heart of Women in the Shadows are five short films which include haunting survivor stories, dramatised by actresses, and expert interviews.

We spoke to nine frontline workers about their experience of working with marginalised women. Each had a personal testimony of how they have come to join the fight against modern slavery and all are involved in different ways.

Each week, the resources concentrates on a different forms of modern slavery facing women and girls in the UK today. Participants will learn more about how sexual exploitation, forced labour and county lines drug smuggling can flourish in society and what can be done to combat it and support victims when they escape entrapment.

During the course, you will discover how women are drawn into modern slavery and exploitative situations; what life can be like for them once they are rescued, and the many challenges they face as they recover from trauma. You will also find out more about how to recognise signs of modern slavery.

"I don’t know if anybody fully recovers. But I think what they do, is they learn to live a different life. They learn to be independent. And, with the right therapy and help, the trauma comes back less."

Karen Anstiss
Bakhita House

What's in the pack?

  • There are two versions of the full course pack: the standard version includes in depth examinations from experts on the topics covered in each weekly module and the Lent course version which includes biblical and spiritual reflections
  • Each course pack includes everything you need to run a successful online course without extra preparation.
  • Both versions include a film for each week, supported by materials to stimulate deeper consideration and reflection.
  • All of the films and weekly modules are available by following the 'Course resources' link below.
  • For the Lent course there is also a two-page introductory overview of the resources and a short week by week summary - both of which you can use as hand outs for your participants before you begin.
Front thumnail sec

Full course handbook

Use the online modules or download the full handbook here

Week by week

Lent course overview

Introduction & a week by week course guide

WITS course intro

Full Lent course handbook

Materials are available in weekly modules but you can download the full handbook here

A fantastic collaboration

Interviews woven through the films, include:

  • Jen Baines (GLAA)
  • Louise Hulland (journalist and modern slavery author)
  • Sister Lynda Dearlove (women@thewell)
  • Rosie Hopley (Beloved)
  • Alison Logier (Hestia)
  • Karen Anstiss (Caritas Bakhita House)
  • Shayne Tyler (Fresca Group)
  • Clive Davies (Chief Superintendent, East Surrey Police)
  • Jackie Mouradian (Mosaic Creative)
  • Bishop Alastair Redfern (The Clewer Initiative).

Additional materials provided by the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner, The National Crime Agency, Hestia, The Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority, National County Lines Coordination Centre and Medaille Trust

The Lent course devotional material has been written by Bishop Alastair Redfern, Rev Edwina Fennemore, Rev Caroline Pinchbeck, Bishop Simon Burton-Jones and Canon Jane Brooke.

Sincere thanks to all our contributors.

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