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Luka’s story

The orphan brought to the UK to work for £20 a week

Luka was born in a poor part of Eastern Europe. When he was a toddler, he was taken into care. By the time he left care at 18, his parents had died. For a while, he lived with his sister. She, though, was into crime and used Luka’s identity card to commit fraud. He was forced to move out. With little or no money,  he sofa-surfed or slept rough.

Through a friend, Luka contacted a guy called Martin, who lived in the UK. Eventually, Martin said he could find Luka a job. He offered to pay the fare for Luka to move to the UK, as well as providing food and accommodation. The opportunity sounded too good to be true and Luka jumped at the chance. 

In 2016, Luka arrived in a town in the Midlands, where he moved in with Martin and his wife and children. Luka gave Martin his national identity card and passport for safekeeping. For the first month, Luka did not have to work, and he shared in family life. Soon afterwards, however, it became clear that things were, indeed, too good to be true. Martin had found Luka a job renovating older properties. Martin told him that he would have to pay half of his wages to cover the cost of his food, rent and debts. Luka thought that sounded reasonable. It was not. 

Working long hours, six days a week, Luka received just £20 every Saturday. Luka was too frightened to confront Martin. With no money – and Martin holding on to his passport – Luka was compelled to keep working. Unable to speak English and with nowhere to go, Luka felt helpless. He did not know where to turn. This carried on for five years until, one day, Luka contacted a friend back home.

Recognising Luka’s plight, the friend shared Luka’s story with a local charity. Immediately, staff recognised that Luka was being exploited and, having worked with Medaille Trust in the past, contacted one of our safe houses. Medaille staff worked quickly to locate and rescue Luka. Today, he is a resident in one of our safe houses.

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