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Government urged to back Bill to end brutal re-trafficking cycle

9th Oct 2018 - Rachael Adams

In a major debate on modern slavery taking place at Westminster today, MPs will call on the Government to throw its full backing behind new legislation that will massively improve levels of support given to victims of modern slavery.

Under the current system, victims receive support while the authorities decide whether or not there is evidence they have been a victim of trafficking. When that is confirmed, victims only receive 14 more days of support.

However, repeated evidence from frontline anti-trafficking charities, victim’s testimonies and the Home Affairs Select Committees has shown that the short-term support modern slavery victims are offered fuels a vicious cycle of re-trafficking.

Former police officers have even mentioned they have seen the same victims come through the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) process, the formal identification process for victims of modern slavery.

To address this major shortcoming, CARE has joined with leading anti-trafficking groups to back the Modern Slavery (Victim Support) Bill which is currently going through the House of Commons.

The Bill would provide 12 months of guaranteed support for victims of modern slavery, as well as an advocate who will help victims with a personal care plan to ensure they can begin to re-build their lives. 

The Bill has already passed through the Lords without any trouble at all and needs only to receive Government support to become law.

CARE’s Chief Executive Nola Leach said:

“In the fight against modern slavery, victims are too exposed because of a lack of adequate support with the consequences being that even after being rescued many end up destitute, homeless and re-trafficked.

“There is a Bill right now in the House of Commons that the Government could back which would put an end to this glaring injustice.

“Today, MP’s will press the Government to back the Modern Slavery (Victim Support) Bill that would go a long way to addressing the shortcomings in our current anti-slavery legislation.

“It’s not enough to think the job’s done when victims escape modern slavery. Without safe and secure accommodation, access to support services and the time to heal from their traumatic ordeal, victims are in danger of further exploitation and misery.

“Reducing modern slavery starts with putting the needs of victims first. Modern slavery victims need more time than they are currently being given to break the cycle of exploitation and live free for good.”

Ends

Notes to Editors

For more information please contact Rachael Adams on 020 7227 4731 / 07851 153 693 or rachael.adams@care.org.uk 

The Westminster Hall debate on tackling Modern Slavery takes place from 18:30-19:30 on Tuesday 9th October 2018 chaired by Gareth Snell MP.

Link to the Modern Slavery (Victim Support) Bill: https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/bills/lbill/2017-2019/0004/18004.pdf  

Link to The Work and Pensions Committee report on Victims of Modern Slavery: https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/work-and-pensions-committee/news-parliament-2015/report-victims-modern-slavery-16-17/

CARE is part of Free for Good, the UK’s campaign for the Modern Slavery (Victim Support) Bill. Find out more here: http://freeforgood.org.uk

The Modern Slavery (Victim Support) Bill has wide support across society – 24 leading anti-trafficking businesses and charities recently signed a letter published in the Guardian calling on the Government to support the Bill.

The Free for Good campaign is currently supported by CARESnowdrop ProjectHuman Trafficking FoundationHope for JusticeAFRUCAAnti-Slavery InternationalKALAYAANArise FoundationAshiana SheffieldFreedom UnitedCo-opJericho Foundation,Northern CollegeYou Can Free UsThe Sophie Hayes FoundationIJM UKCaritasNAWOTribe Foundation,RAMFELThe Adavu ProjectOdanadi, The British Retail Consortium, ECPAT UK (Every Child Against Trafficking).

Lord McColl of Dulwich sponsored the Bill through the House of Lords.

Lord McColl of Dulwich is a Conservative member of the House of Lords. For more than a decade he has been raising issues of modern slavery and human trafficking in the House of Lords, pushing for greater protections and support for victims, including during development of the Modern Slavery Act 2015

“I introduced the Bill after repeated evidence showed that current support is failing victims of modern slavery in Britain today. Peers in the House of Lords have passed the Bill, it is now up to the Government to do the right thing and throw its weight behind it.”

Latest figures from the Global Slavery index suggests the number of human trafficking victims in the UK could be ten times higher than previously thought. They estimate the number of victims trapped in modern slavery in the UK is 136,000. 

For more on CARE’s work on modern slavery see here: https://care.org.uk/news/human-trafficking

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