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ITV
UK News

Coronation Street to cover human trafficking, with help from the Salvation Army

by Cara Bentley

The character Alina will be introduced in spring, an Eastern European woman who works in a nail bar where she is being exploited. 

The character Seb Franklin will find himself falling for Alina, played by Romanian born actress Ruxandra Porojnicu, unaware of her squalid conditions or that she has been brought to the UK as part of an Eastern European human trafficking ring.

Seb gets more involved, putting his life and others' at risk. 

The character Eileen Grimshaw will also be caught up in the drama as her new Polish builder boyfriend Jan is suspected to possibly be involved in the trafficking gang. 

For the details of the character's life and circumstances, Coronation Street's researchers have been working closely with Christian church and charity The Salvation Army for the plot. 

In 2011, The Salvation Army were chosen by the government to manage the support services to people who have been enslaved and over 8000 survivors of modern slavery and human trafficking have come in to their care. 

Using that experience, they have been encouraging the public to be on the lookout for possible cases of modern slavery and have concentrated on protecting people from becoming exploited in the first place.

Kathy Betteridge, Director of Anti Trafficking and Modern Slavery at The Salvation Army said: "We are grateful to ITV for the responsible way in which they have worked with us to ensure that the story told is authentic and sensitive to the reality of the experiences of the thousands of people supported by The Salvation Army."

Coronation Street producer, Iain McLeod said: "This is one of the biggest hidden scandals in the UK today. Our research has shown us that in many towns and cities across Britain, people are being forced to work against their will, living in extreme poverty and in fear for their safety, all so ruthless criminal gangs can get rich at their expense.

"We are keen to highlight that slavery hides in plain sight - the salon which does your nails for a too-good-to-be-true price, the car wash which valets your hatchback for half the going rate... these could all be staffed by people who are being coerced, threatened and exploited. Yes, they might seem upbeat and friendly to talk to - but is there something darker and more tragic going on that we don't stop to notice? If you're getting a service for a price that seems unreal, ask yourself how that's possible."

Earlier this year Coronation Street showed a character seeking to get an abortion without parental consent - something which many were surprised was legal. 

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