The Queen’s granddaughter co-founded the Anti-Slavery Collective with childhood friend Julia de Boinville in 2017 after learning about the extent of modern slavery in the UK. She reflected on a moving visit to a safe house with The Salvation Army in 2016.
The 30-year-old said: “I was completely astounded by the victims.
“These people were strong, happy…they were loving life.
“These girls really showed me how to grab life and appreciate things.
“If they can do it, after what they’ve been through, it’s a huge lesson for people to learn.
“They are courageous, and everyone who works within modern slavery and who tries to fight for people who don’t have a voice, are courageous.”
The princess and Ms de Boinville became interested in fighting for the cause after an eye-opening trip to India with Eugenie’s mum, Sarah, Duchess of York.
They visited an organisation called Women’s Interlink Foundation in 2012 to meet women rescued from trafficking and slavery.
Aloka Mitra, the founder, gives these victims a home and teaches them how to print fabric to make clothes.
Eugenie said the extent of modern slavery in the UK is “shocking”.
She said it “strikes me as never really being talked about”, adding: “I didn’t know that the issue of slavery within even a mile of my living is an issue.
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“That was so shocking on our doorstep when you think it is a million miles away but it’s actually people every day who this is happening to.”
Over Christmas, Eugenie, who is expecting her first child in early 2021, gave Salvation Army safe house residents gifts to “help with their wellbeing”.
The Salvation Army shared a picture of the gifts on Twitter. They were wrapped in red paper and accompanied by a signed card from Eugenie and Ms de Boinville.
Addressed to safe house residents, it read: “Thank you for welcoming Eugenie and I into your home earlier this month, and for sharing your stories so openly.
“You inspire us to keep fighting against modern slavery, and we have you in our hearts and minds every day.”
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The charity said on Twitter: “This Christmas safe house residents were delighted to receive gifts from Anti-Slavery Collective founders HRH Princess Eugenie and Julia de Boinville containing crafts and other activities to help with their wellbeing as they stay safe and continue to recover from their experiences of modern slavery.”
An estimated 40.3 million people are victims of modern slavery worldwide, including ten million children.
A bio from the princess and Ms de Boinville on the Anti-Slavery Collective website says: “We were shocked to discover the extent to which slavery still exists.
“In fact, there are more enslaved people today than at any other point in history and, at any one time, someone is being trafficked within a mile of where you live.
“We often associate slavery with chains and shackles, but modern slavery is a hidden crime that is often hard to detect.”
Eugenie and husband Jack Brooksbank, 35, announced in September 2020 that they are expecting their first child.