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More assurances needed over modern slavery support, says Peer

Human Trafficking
6 January 2022
PA Trafficking 1n

More assurances are needed that victims of modern slavery will not be placed at risk by government immigration plans, a Conservative Peer has said.

Speaking in parliament this week, Lord McColl of Dulwich pressed the government on changes to its Nationality and Borders Bill, which is designed to toughen rules around immigration.

Experts, including the UK's Independent Anti Slavery Commissioner, have warned that the plans could diminish support available to victims of modern slavery and human trafficking.

CARE has also raised the alarm and is pressing for a series of amendments to the bill, which is currently making its way through the House of Commons.

At the end of last year, the government signaled that 12 months of 'tailored support' for victims would be guaranteed. However, no further information has been forthcoming. Speaking yesterday, Lord McColl said:

"On Report in another place, the Government gave a welcome assurance that confirmed victims would receive 12 months’ long-term support, with further details to be set out in guidance. This is encouraging, but support must be statutory to give victims the certainty they need to begin to rebuild their lives following exploitation.

"I will watch closely to see whether the Government table an amendment to make good their commitment. If not, I will press forward with amendments based on my Modern Slavery (Victim Support) Bill, so that the 12 months’ support is in the Bill."
Lord McColl Conservative Peer

The Peer also raised the issue of many confirmed modern slavery victims not being granted leave to remain in the UK. He stressed that:

"All confirmed victims should be given 12 months’ leave to remain to access the support that the Government committed to and to be able to support police investigations."
Lord McColl Conservative Peer

Responding to Lord McColl's question on tailored support, the Minister, Baroness Williams of Trafford, said:

"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. We will set out further details in guidance in due course."
Baroness Williams Government Minister

Commenting on the right to remain, she said:

"It is right that leave is granted only to those who need it. This is both firm and fair.
Baroness Williams Government Minister

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