The Holly Project opened in Telford in August 2018 and is the first specialist peer CSE support service in the country. All of the Holly Workers have experience of CSE themselves. It was the brainchild of local survivor Holly Archer, who campaigned tirelessly for an independent inquiry into exploitation and trafficking in the town after her own abuse drove her to attempt suicide. Since then, the service has supported nearly 100 people and delivered CSE training to hundreds of professionals in the area.
The Holly Workers have travelled the country, delivering specialist training to a range of professionals to help them spot the signs of CSE by sharing their own lived experiences. They are passionate about helping people understand how diverse experiences of CSE can be, and the many different forms it takes. Crucially, they try to dispel the myth that so-called “grooming gang” CSE is only perpetrated by Asian men, with white victims.