Chamber’s Charity of the Year

City Hearts restore the lives of vulnerable and exploited men, women and children through safe houses and holistic support programmes to create independence and lasting change.

In 2005, City Hearts began with a single home to help women with life controlling issues. Shortly after, we welcomed our first survivor of modern slavery into our safe home. And so our journey to support thousands of women, children and men who were victims of the travesty of human trafficking and exploitation began.

Every City Heart’s project has been created to support and empower those people entrusted in our care. The emotional help that a mother needs as she welcomes her unplanned child into the world, the husband and father who was tricked into coming to a foreign country assisted to gain employment so that he can support his family, counselling for the severe trauma of the child who has been living in a brothel since birth and witnessed their mother being repeatedly sexually exploited, and the practical help that a refugee family need as they relocate to a new community.

A decade after we opened our doors our ground breaking programmes are seeing lasting change in peoples’ lives. We advise government bodies on policies to provide greater support for victims of modern slavery, and advocate for more comprehensive legislation to ensure traffickers are held accountable for their crimes.

In 2017, we housed 185 men and women who are survivors in South Yorkshire and 135 of their children and supported a further 375 individuals in their long term care.

1 in 4 victims of modern slavery is a child.

Tragically, there is currently no Government provision to support the children whose parents are the survivors of this crime. Our Family Support workers improve the welfare of children by giving them the space and opportunities to overcome their own trauma through counselling and normal childhood activities.

‘As therapists we feel so privileged to be involved in the work of City Hearts. We are working with the extremes of trauma and fragility but experience such strength and courage in our clients. We are all passionate about this work and feel honoured to be part of the incredible healing we observe time and time again.’
Amanda Hewitt BEd.Dip.Couns.BACP

Agnesa’s mum was in a relationship with her father when she fell pregnant with her. When she was 4 years old, the relationship grew worse and her mother ended up being sexually exploited by the man she had once loved and trusted. Agnesa saw everything. They were moved around Europe, staying in a flat no longer than a few months, until they were finally trafficked to the UK where her mum would be visited by up to 8 men a day. Agnesa lived on Weetabix and water.

At 6 years old, Agnesa is traumatised. She has a negative image of men and relationships in general, but is very attached to her mother and has to sleep next to her. She has nightmares and wakes up screaming in the night.

These pictures were drawn by Agnesa. Earlier this year, one of our workers trained in Theraplay, which helps children work through their emotions, trauma and memories through play.

Through the work of our Family Support workers and child counselling, Agnesa is starting to be able to open up about her experiences, enabling her to learn about and grow positive relationships with other children and men on the team. We support her and her mum in creating reward charts and ‘food taster’ sessions, as Agnesa has lived on Weetabix for so long. When she is able, we hope to integrate her into her local supportive school.

Agnesa is a wonderful young girl with the right to a beautiful bright future.

With your help we will welcome more children into our homes and restore the childhood that they deserve.

Names have been changed for our client’s protection.

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