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'Govt modern slavery commitment a good first step' - CARE

Human Trafficking
8 December 2021
IDS

A commitment to 12 months of support for confirmed victims of modern slavery in immigration proposals has been cautiously welcomed by CARE.

In a debate on the Nationality and Borders Bill this afternoon, Ministers responded to concerns that aspects of the Bill would diminish support available to victims of modern slavery and human trafficking.

An amendment to the Bill lodged by Sir Iain Duncan Smith MP sought to strip out problematic provisions and insert a guarantee of long term support to confirmed victims on the face of the Bill.

Following the debate, the government made “an assurance that all those who receive a positive conclusive grounds decision and are in need of tailored support will receive appropriate individualised support for a minimum of 12 months", adding that further details will be set out "in relevant guidance".

Mr Duncan Smith said he was grateful for the commitment but would not rule out revisiting his amendment in the months ahead if these assurances are not provided for in legislation:

"The Government have recognised victims’ need for stability and consistency in the support that they receive. That is a good move, and I thank them for it. I welcome the intention to provide a guaranteed 12-month minimum period of tailored support for all confirmed victims; that is particularly important."

"The minimum guarantee will serve as a major stabiliser. If the Government are prepared to accept that, and perhaps table an amendment in another place, I shall be prepared to wait and see what happens."

Lauren Agnew, Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation Policy Officer at CARE, said:

“The Government’s statement today that confirmed victims of modern slavery will receive appropriate individualised support for a minimum of 12 months is an encouraging first step and recognition that the Nationality and Borders Bill, as it stands, does not do enough to support confirmed victims of modern slavery.

“However, we are concerned that something so integral to victim recovery should be left to guidance. Without an explicit commitment on the face of the Bill, victims of modern slavery simply will not have the robust security, stability, and certainty they need and deserve.

"There is still a long way to go to ensure the provision of long-term support is adequate to effectively meet the needs of victims; and to enable and empower them to engage with the police to bring perpetrators to justice. We will await further detail from the government on its plans and assess this when it is made available."

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