MD was a young man when he was trafficked into the UK as part of an arranged marriage, but instead of the better life he had hoped for, on arrival he found himself forced to work for free by his new family.
For months MD was physically and mentally abused by his father-in-law, but eventually he managed to contact a charity helpline who sent the police to rescue him.
City Hearts supported MD in one of our safe houses following his rescue from exploitation, and as a way of helping us continue to support others in a similar situation, MD is taking part in our Sofa to Summit fundraising campaign.
The challenge, which asks supporters to cover a distance of 25.5 miles, takes place between July 4-10, where we hope to raise £30,000 for our long-term recovery programmes.
As well as an in-person guided hike of the Yorkshire Three Peaks on July 9, supporters can also choose to cover the equivalent 25.5 mile route virtually; choosing their own route, and running, hiking, swimming or cycling the distance.
MD, originally from Bangladesh, but now living near Newcastle, plans to cover as many miles as he can in the beautiful countryside around the North East.
“City Hearts helped me in my journey tremendously,” he said. “My case worker was always there for me. But being a man and a victim of modern slavery is hard,” he added.
“People ask me why I didn’t just leave. But at the time I felt like I didn’t have a choice. I had to accept it as I didn’t have documents and couldn’t work. And I didn’t want to leave my child.”
This year’s event aims to raise £30,000 for City Hearts’ Integration Support Department, which was fundamental in MD’s journey. The department runs programmes aimed at increasing the confidence, self-worth, and resilience of survivors, so they are able to navigate the world more safely and independently.
Talking about the challenge, MD said: “The money raised from this challenge will bring comfort and relief to traumatised victims, especially in recovering their mental health and their overall wellbeing. I would urge everyone who cares about transforming vulnerable people’s lives to sign up for the challenge.”
Make a donation to support MD’s challenge using the link below: