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There are an estimated 136,000 victims of human trafficking in the UK today [1].

That’s 136,000 individuals who find themselves in the unthinkable situation of being exploited for sexual, domestic or manual labour purposes. Sadly, these people were often exploited whilst pursuing the hope of a brighter future or better employment.

According to the charity Hestia, 81% of trafficked victims in London are women, reflecting the fact that the capital city has a higher rate of sex trafficking than anywhere else in the country [2]. Once these women have got out of this situation, it can be difficult to recover from the trauma, not least to find employment that gives them meaning, and empowers them to be economically independent in the future.

What’s more there are less than twenty organisations or programmes in the UK that exist specifically to support survivors of human trafficking through vocational training or employment.

This is what we exist to address.

81%

of trafficked victims in London are women

- Hestia, 2017

136,000

estimated victims of human trafficking in the UK today

- Global Slavery Index, 2018

 

What are we doing?

We are in the process of designing a work experience programme which will upskill survivors across the areas of finance, operations, marketing and strategy in the floristry industry. The programme will be tailored to each survivors’ specific needs and will factor in the personal challenges they often face which may affect their ability to transition into the work environment. We commit to creating several jobs within Strength & Stem for graduates of our work experience programme. 

In addition, we will deliver regular Community Floristry Workshops for free. These workshops will also cater for survivors who might be unable to work. In the long term, these will be funded by profit reinvested from the business’ trading activities.


Why flowers?

We all have reason to enjoy flowers. Whether its a birthday or special holiday, a simple thank you or a personal treat, flowers are a universal sign of love, gratitude, and beauty.

Having been married on a flower farm, it wasn’t until Strength & Stem founder Jess Visser trained as a florist that she started to think about how floristry could be used as a tool to help others flourish.

Beyond the anecdotal, research suggests that flowers are good for us. Several studies have shown that flowers have unique and positive effects on ‘emotional reactions, mood… and even memory’, in both the immediate and long term[3]. Furthermore, there is good evidence to suggest that flowers increase positive social behaviours and increase happiness [4].

We couldn’t think of a more beautiful medium with which to love and encourage survivors of trafficking on their journey of healing.


 
There are always flowers for those who want to see them
— Henri Matisse
 

[1] Global Slavery Index (2018). p. 94 https://www.globalslaveryindex.org/resources/downloads/

[2] Hestia (2017) Underground lives: The reality of modern slavery in London. p.8

[3] Haviland-Jones, J., Rosario, H.H., Wilson, P., and McGuire, T.R. (2005). An Environmental Approach to Positive Emotion: Flowers. Evolutionary Psychology., 3, p.104

[4] Haviland-Jones, J., Rosario, H.H., Wilson, P., and McGuire, T.R. (2005). An Environmental Approach to Positive Emotion: Flowers. Evolutionary Psychology., 3, pp.120-123