Júlia’s interest in modern slavery began in 2006 when she was working on her PhD which focussed on the plight of sex workers and homeless people. She began to come across more and more survivors of modern slavery and this prompted her to conduct further, post-doctoral research on modern slavery and sexual exploitation.
In 2015, she moved to Bristol to work for Unchosen, an anti-trafficking charity which raised awareness about labour, child and sex trafficking through film and documentaries. It ran a short piece of work, targeting homeless people with information about modern slavery – for many in the sector it was the first time they had seen the link between modern slavery and homelessness.
When the project came to an end, Júlia became the first Anti-Slavery Coordinator at The Passage, a charity based in Central London which provides support to homeless people to help them transform their lives. The Passage runs the UK’s largest day centre, carries out street outreach work, runs three accommodation projects and several homelessness prevention schemes.
As its Anti-Slavery Coordinator, Júlia seeks to raise awareness of modern slavery, deliver training to the homelessness sector (staff, locums and volunteers), and develop strategic partnerships. As staff have undergone modern slavery training, more survivors have been identified and this has led to Júlia spending increasing time on the frontline, providing direct support and care.
Over the last few years, Júlia has worked closely with The Clewer Initiative, helping to develop its work around homelessness. She is an active member of The Clewer Initiative’s Advisory Group and the Bishop of London’s Modern Slavery Steering Group.
Júlia explains: “I have been keen to do whatever I can to support the work of The Clewer Initiative. We have worked together to publish The Passage Modern Slavery Handbook and on numerous other projects and presentations, faith-based subgroups, volunteer training events, round table discussions and awareness raising.
“My relationship with The Clewer Initiative is an excellent strategic partnership – it is a privilege to be able to offer my expertise on homelessness and modern slavery so that The Clewer Initiative is up to date on current trends such as when we noticed that some people were being recruited in church settings. I have consulted on several pieces of work, provided evidence at strategy meetings and more recently, advised the Bishop of London’s Modern Slavery Steering Group on the development of a Single Point of Contact model so that once a survivor is identified in a parish, there is a clear framework to coordinate support.
“By working together, we are able to coordinate the response across London and do the best by the survivors we meet. The Clewer Initiative has access to hundreds of volunteers and churches, so it is vital that everyone is equipped with a good knowledge of safeguarding and best practice.”