Coronation Street will explore human trafficking, modern slavery and work exploitation in a dark new storyline this spring.
Teenager Seb Franklin (Harry Visinoni) befriends an eastern European nail bar worker named Alina (played by newcomer, Romanian actress Ruxandra Porojnicu) who he eventually learns has been brought to the UK as part of a human trafficking ring. Horrified at the ordeal she is forced to endure, Seb finds himself dragged into a murky world modern-day slavery as he tries to expose the sinister forces behind it – putting himself and others on the street in danger.
Eileen Grimshaw (Sue Cleaver) is also caught up in the controversial plot as her burgeoning relationship with Polish builder Jan, who is working on the factory repairs, is threatened when it transpires he too is involved. Is he part of the gang, or could he be connected in another more surprising way?
Corrie bosses are working with the Salvation Army who manage support services to those who have been enslaved on behalf of the British government. The organisation focuses on protecting people from exploitation and provide longer-term support for survivors, and have teamed up with the ITV soap hoping the story will lead viewers to consider the ethics behind some of the services that are taken for granted. Alina’s story highlights the reality of modern slavery and informs the audience on how to spot suspicious signs and encourage them to report any concerns to the authorities.
When does Corrie’s modern slavery storyline start?
Speaking about the plot, which launches in April, the soap’s producer Iain MacLeod said: “This is one of the biggest hidden scandals in the UK today. Our research shows that in many towns and cities across Britain, people are being forced to work against their will, live in extreme poverty and in fear for their safety, all so ruthless criminal gangs van get rich at their expense.
“Slavery hides in plain sight – from the salon that does your nails for a too-good-to-be-true price, the car wash which charges half the going rate – these could be staffed by people who are being coerced, threatened and exploited. If you’re getting a service for a price that seems unreal, is something darker and more tragic going on?”