The lack of support offered to victims of modern slavery in the UK means they face the risk of further exploitation, charities have warned today.
Home Office policy says that confirmed victims of slavery can receive 45 days of support, but according to a new report published by the British Red Cross, Hestia and Ashiana, this means victims are vulnerable to re-trafficking.
The situation is especially serious for non-EU nationals and a Freedom of Information Request by the British Red Cross showed that 752 people recognised as survivors of trafficking between 2015 and 2017 had no right to remain in the UK.
This means they are unable to access financial assistance, mental health support and permanent accommodation.
In the report, the charities urge the Government to extend the support on offer for victims, giving them at least one year of tailored help.
Anti-trafficking charity CARE today welcomed the report and the calls for the Government to improve on the length of time survivors of modern slavery receive guaranteed assistance.
CARE is part of the Free for Good campaign, a coalition of organisations supporting Lord McColl’s Modern Slavery (Victim Support) Bill.
This Bill would see victims guaranteed 12 months of full support, including things like financial aid, housing and advice which would help them rebuild their lives.
CARE’s Senior Policy Officer – Human Trafficking, Louise Gleich said:
“It is tragic that the lack of support for modern slavery survivors mean many face further exploitation and abuse.
“Providing victims with adequate support is not just the right thing to do for their recovery, it is also essential if we are to bring traffickers to justice and prevent them exploiting others in the future.
“Without protection, support and stability victims cannot give evidence to police and courts meaning traffickers go free and the cycle of exploitation continues.
“We welcome this report’s recommendation that the level of support be increased to at least a year.
“There’s a simple way the Government could bring this progressive change about and that is by backing the Modern Slavery (Victim Support) Bill.
“This would give victims a guaranteed 12 months of support which constitutes proper, long-term help and assistance which we believe would help them move on and live free.
“Today we are calling on the new Home Secretary, Priti Patel, to support the Bill and do all within her power to improve the support currently on offer.”
Notes to editors:
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CARE is a well-established mainstream Christian charity providing resources and helping to bring Christian insight and experience to matters of public policy and practical caring initiatives. CARE is represented in the UK Parliaments and Assemblies.
CARE supports the Modern Slavery (Victim Support) Bill which can be viewed here: https://services.parliament.uk/bills/2017-19/modernslaveryvictimsupport.html
CARE is part of the Free for Good campaign, which supports the McColl Bill: https://freeforgood.org.uk/
We recently made a major contribution to a very significant report from the Rights Lab at Nottingham University which showed longer-term support for victims is more cost effective: https://www.care.org.uk/news/latest-news/longer-term-support-survivors-modern-slavery-will-boost-economy
The Home Office recently settled out of court after two victims of modern slavery launched a legal challenge against its policy of only giving confirmed victims 45-day extra support. As part of the settlement, the Home Office has said it will come up with a ‘sustainable needs-based system for supporting victims of trafficking’: https://www.care.org.uk/news/latest-news/home-office-concedes-45-day-limit-slavery-victims-unlawful