Modern Slavery- More Terrifying Than Fiction
Modern slavery is real. It is happening in our communities. We interact with it on a daily basis. There are more slaves in our world today than there were during the Transatlantic Slave Trade, a trade abolished in 1807, but still prevalent in our society 210 years later. It is an illicit trade and a crime, but it impacts men, women and children. Nearly 4,000 people are identified as potential victims of modern slavery in the UK each year; it is widely expected that this is just the tip of the iceberg.
‘After Leaving the Village’, a contemporary suspense thriller by Helen Matthews (to be published by Hashtag Press in October) follows the journey of Odeta, an ordinary girl from a normal village family in Albania. Odeta’s life isn’t exceptionally hard but it’s mundane so when she meets a fascinating stranger, Kreshnik, who promises her an exciting new career in London, the temptation to travel with him is overwhelming.
Once Odeta arrives in London, her life changes in ways she could never have imagined. This doesn’t mean she’s naïve. The promise of adventure, an urge to go out and explore the world rather than remain in a village repeating the pattern of life her parents’ families have lived for generations is natural. Who wouldn’t grasp the chance to escape?
Meanwhile on the same London street, journalist Kate is going about her daily life - working, raising her son, facing secrets from her past, dealing with family crises, making new friends - unaware of what is happening behind the closed doors of number thirty-eight.
“My novel is a thriller with a social conscience,” says author Helen Matthews. “All the characters, places and incidents are entirely fictional but I hope that – along with being a gripping read – my book will help to raise awareness of human trafficking in the UK.”
“After Leaving the Village is a captivating and accurate portrayal of trafficking and sexual exploitation. Slavery is not a thing of the past and this story is common – the promise of more, the prospect of adventure and escape, the frenzy of falling in love,” says Kate Garbers, Founder & Director, Unseen.
Human trafficking is a hidden crime and it is important to know the signs and report anything suspicious in your community.
Unseen, has produced a new short film, which shows some of the ways people are trafficked in the UK and who to call for advice, support or to report a crime.
To watch the full film and read more about its characters click here: http://www.unseenuk.org/modern-slavery-is-real
Film link: https://youtu.be/NvzYyaU8WRc
After Leaving the Village
Publisher: Hashtag Press
Publication date: October 12, 2017
Genre: Thriller, Suspense
Two women. Two villages. Different destinies.
Odeta’s life has shrunk to a daily round of drudgery, running her father’s grocery store in a remote Albanian village. One day a stranger from Tirana walks into the shop and promises her a new career in London.
Odeta’s life is about to change, but not in the way she expected.
Journalist Kate lives on a quiet London street and seems to have a perfect life but she worries about her son Ben, who struggles to make friends. Kate blames the internet and disconnects her family from the online world so they can get to know their neighbours.
On a visit to her home village in Wales, Kate is forced to confront a secret from her past. But greater danger lies closer to home. Perhaps Kate’s neighbours are not the friendly community they seem.
About the Author:
Helen Matthews is the author of debut novel ‘After Leaving the Village’, winner of the Winchester Writers’ Festival prize for opening pages of a novel. Born in Cardiff, she read English at the University of Liverpool. After travelling, she worked in international development, consultancy, human resources and pensions management but fled corporate life to pursue her dream of becoming a writer. She holds an MA in Creative Writing from Oxford Brookes University. Helen has been awarded prizes for short stories and published in the literary journal Artificium. As a freelancer, she writes content for websites and business magazines and has, in the past, been published in The Guardian and had columns broadcast on BBC radio. She is married with two grown-up children and lives in Hampshire.