Anti Trafficking and Labour Exploitation

Amount Funded:

£132,039 over three years (made in 2018)


Injustice - systemic change around injustice and inequality

ATLEU secures safety and justice for survivors of trafficking and slavery by using and reforming the law.


*not her real name.


In 2011 Arlinda* fled Albania with her three young children, one of whom is disabled. They arrived in Belgium. A year later, Arlinda was trafficked within Belgium by a criminal gang. She was separated from her children, held captive and sexually exploited. She managed to escape after a month. After finding her children the family fled to the UK, where they claimed asylum on their arrival.

ATLEU has completely changed my life. It has made everything different. Before I was granted asylum I felt like I was dead. Now I feel alive again. My family are happier and we look forward to building our lives in the UK.


Arlinda was referred to ATLEU in 2015. Our immigration team worked on Arlinda's asylum and trafficking cases steadily for four years, challenging a string of unlawful Home Office decisions. After we successfully challenged the Home Office's decision that she was not a victim of trafficking the family were finally granted refugee status in 2019.

Our housing team also worked to ensure that the family were safe with continuous access to appropriate accommodation and support. The family were housed by a local authority in London, where they were close to their support network, doctors and schools. We resisted attempts by the local authority to evict the family and prevented a move into unsuitable asylum support accommodation. This was essential to maintaining the stability needed by survivors of trafficking who are starting to rebuild their lives and recover from the abuse and exploitation they have suffered.

ATLEU is a young organisation. We applied to Esmée for core funding to help us lay down a strong foundation, strengthen our internal processes and give us space to develop our plans for future growth. The grant application process was a very positive one. The foundation is supportive and allows us the freedom to focus on what we are good at. We take advantage of the meeting room facilities which are an exceptionally useful resource for a small charity like us. After just one year of grant funding we have already seen a massive impact on building the resilience of our organisation.

Hannah Lim

Grants Manager, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation

ATLEU offers a valuable and highly specialist service to those requiring the most complex support.

There is very little other legal support available to this vulnerable client group. For example, ATLEU’s research in 2014 found only five advisors nationally with experience of trafficking compensation claims out of 700 legal aid providers. ATLEU’s focus on strategic cases means potentially wide reaching impact through changes to law and policy.

Since the introduction of the Modern Slavery Act 2015, identification of survivors of trafficking has increased and this grant request came at a crucial time to support ATLEU’s operational capacity to respond effectively to the growing need.