Independent on Sunday's Happy List 2014 (NOT the Rich List): Aneeta Prem, anti-slavery campaigner
Sunday 25 May 2014
Three women made the national news last year after decades - in one case a lifetime - of being kept secret from the outside world.
Inside an ordinary looking house in Lambeth in London, three women had been living a life of servitude for around thirty years.
But when one of them saw Aneeta Prem, founder of Freedom Charity, talking on television, they found the courage to ring her up and ask for help.
The captive woman was attracted to the name of the charity, but also to Aneeta herself - the London magistrate had a face she thought she could trust.
After what was a "traumatic and very difficult" phone call between Aneeta and the woman on the inside, a channel of communication was tentatively established.
A week of phone calls followed in which Aneeta was able to gain the women's confidence, which in turn allowed police to trace the location of the house and eventually help them escape.
The publicity surrounding the case led to a spike in interest in Aneeta's charity, which she set up in 2009 to raise awareness of forced marriage, family violence and human right abuse in the UK. The website received 2.5m hits in the 36-hour period after arrests were made in connection with the three women.
"I believe small charities have the power to make global change," she has since said. "The power comes from being able to have a human face, from having a can do attitude, and from being willing and able to react quickly and collaboratively.
"The tricky part comes, as I am beginning to discover, when the power attained brings demand so great that the small charity needs to expand. How is that done without losing the charity's personality and integrity?"
Its work, however, thankfully continues. Informative material is placed in schools and school programmes run. The charity also reached out through social media its web site as well as through its helpline, which is manned 24 hours a day seven days a week to help victims of forced marriage and their friends.
Read more - Independent on Sunday's Happy List 2014
The full list of people who make life better for others
Tom Dowling, community journalist
Nikandre Kopcke, social entrepreneur
Carmel Allen and Josephine Drew, charity founders
Robert Williams, kindness giver
Dolly Saville, legendary barmaid
Martin Griffiths, surgeon/lecturer
Jean Bishop, buzzing fundraiser
Finally ... 10 household names who went the extra mile
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
New era of cheap oil 'will destroy green revolution'
Ukip founder Alan Sked and Nigel Farage 'begged Enoch Powell to stand as a candidate'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant
£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are in need of a HR Manage...
£35000 - £40000 per annum + £65,000 OTE: h2 Recruit Ltd: London, Birmingham, M...