MPs Report Warns Urgent Reform is Needed as Insufficient Support is Leaving Human Trafficking Victims Destitute and their Traffickers Unpunished

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In a report published on Sunday, MPs on the Work and Pensions Committee have described ‘inexcusable’ failures in the system which leaves many victims destitute and see their traffickers go unpunished.

The inquiry focused on what support is available to victims after the initial 45 day ‘reflection and recovery’ period that a victim of human trafficking spends in a safe house whilst their case is being considered. Once this period is elapsed the victim  must move out of the safe house and are not guaranteed any further help or assistance.

MPs on the committee heard from many victims who had faced extreme difficulties in accessing benefits and housing after leaving the safe house with some left homeless, destitute and afraid. Without access to these basic entitlements, victims were left at severe risk of being re-trafficked.

CARE’s Senior Policy Officer for Human Trafficking, Louise Gleich who gave evidence to the Work and Pensions Committee

“CARE calls upon the next government to take action on this issue to prevent further victims of human trafficking from falling through the cracks”

“It’s clear that current support for individuals recognised as human trafficking victims is inadequate and therefore in urgent need of reform.”

“The committee have recognised serious barriers which stop human trafficking victims from being able to access the support they are not only entitled to, but severely need so that they do not end up destitute and homeless”

“Benefits such as money for food and housing benefits restore dignity to trafficking victims, help them feel safe and are essential for them to live their day-to-day lives. Failure to make these change put victims in great danger of being re-trafficked”

“The special circumstances of human trafficking victims need to be recognised in the system and allowances made; all frontline staff at council offices and job centres need to be trained in how to respond to the needs of human trafficking victims and support them through the complexity of the benefits process.”

“The Committee’s recommendation of 12 months of support for victims of human trafficking will allow victims time to recover and heal in a safe environment and give them the strength to help out with any criminal investigations into their perpetrators”

“CARE’s end goal is that we want victims of human trafficking to be able to integrate into society and lead fulfilling lives, but this can only happen if we make it easy for victims to get the support and help that they need”

Ends

Notes to the editor

For more information please contact Rachael Adams on 020 7227 4708 / 07851 153693 or Rachael.adams@care.org.uk

Read the report in full here: http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-sele...

Read more about CARE’s evidence to the inquiry here: https://www.care.org.uk/news/latest-news/support-human-trafficking-victi...

It is estimated that there are 10,000 – 13,000 slaves in the UK

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