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Modern Slavery victim support amendment rejected by MPs

Human Trafficking
21 April 2022
Human Trafficking

Late yesterday in the House of Commons, MPs rejected an amendment to the Nationality and Borders Bill which would give confirmed modern slavery victims 12 months tailored support.

Amendment 26B was tabled by Tory MP Iain Duncan Smith and was eventually rejected by 296-184 votes. The same amendment was passed by Peers just weeks ago.

CARE strongly supports the aims of the amendment. Modern slavery victims need long-term support if they’re to rebuild their lives.

Although the outcome is far from ideal, there has been progress with the Government saying it will introduce guidance on giving 12 months tailored support for confirmed victims in certain circumstances.

As the Nationality and Borders Bill has been going through parliament, CARE’s worked with Peers and MPs to make the case for enshrining 12 months support in law, rather than just in guidance which is considerably weaker.

Speaking during the debate, Duncan Smith explained why the current arrangements fall short of what’s needed:

“Confirmed victims currently receive support under the recovery needs assessment, or RNA, process. Under this process, many victims receive support only for short periods of time. There is no 12-month period, and they therefore undergo repeated needs assessments. The Minister should go through the system and see how painful this is for confirmed victims. It is destabilising and can be harmful to victims’ mental health; we know that.”
Iain Duncan Smith MP

He went on to argue that giving victims 12 months support will in the long run increase prosecution levels:

“If we give them a minimum of 12 months of support, we will get more prosecutions. As a result, we will both save money and provide some serious security for these victims. I genuinely beg the Government to make the change now, because it is decent, reasonable and the right thing to do.”
Iain Duncan Smith MP

Commenting, CARE’s Director of Communications and Engagement, James Mildred said:

“Although the vote was hugely disappointing, we’re pleased there’s been some movement from the government. That said, we continue to believe that until 12 months support is written into law, victims will still be sold short.

“The bottom line is that this is about dignity. Men, women, and children rescued from modern slavery should know that we won’t abandon them after a few months, with all the risks of being re-trafficked that this entails.

“With a Queen’s Speech on the horizon, there will be fresh opportunities to make the arguments and secure 12 months support in law.”
James Mildred Director of Communications and Engagement

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