WHY I LOVE MY JOB
Maria* is a senior support worker at the Poppy Project in London, run by the charity Eaves Housing for Women.
“I work with women trafficked to the UK into prostitution, against their will. They come from all backgrounds and nationalities, but mainly Eastern Europe.
When I first started my job, I could not sleep because of the horrific stories I heard. However, the rewards of a satisfactory day’s work and my desire to help improve the lives of my clients, now get me up in the morning.
Most of my clients are young women who have survived physical, verbal and sexual abuse from their traffickers and pimps. Forced into prostitution, they have to endure threats to the lives of themselves and their families. The extent of abuse faced by the women continues to break my heart.
In my job, no two days are ever the same. I walk into the office with a plan for the day, but it never goes as scheduled. I could even find myself in another part of the country without much notice, This is rare, but keeps me on my toes. I supported two of my clients through court proceedings in Sheffield.
A successful asylum claim, a job offer for a client or a prosecution of a trafficker all make the job worthwhile. Seeing their abusers go to prison for a long time does not compare to the damage done to the women, but it helps a lot of them to move on. Knowing justice has been done can be a real turning point.
The Poppy Project has limited resources and all our clients are foreign nationals who are not eligible for public funds. Finding much-needed services such as detox, education, training and medical care is tough.
I work with agencies such as the Home Office, social services and the police plus solicitors, interpreters, counsellors and doctors.
There are sad cases where women lose their asylum claims and have to return to their countries when it would be safer to remain here. However, the past two years at the Poppy Project have been an amazing experience. It is a joy to work with a dedicated team, all committed to providing the best service possible for the women we support.
My job gives me great satisfaction and I learn new things all the time.”
*Maria is an alias. Due to the nature of the POPPY Project’s work, women who work in direct service provision cannot be identified.