UN Anti Trafficking Day: Let this be a call to action to protect and assist people still trapped in modern slavery

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  • Let's Resolve to use the McColl Bill to deliver proper support for the Victims of Trafficking

30th July marks the UN World Day against Trafficking in Persons.

Human trafficking is an abhorrent crime that exploits women, children and men for numerous purposes – including for sex, forced labour, domestic servitude, and criminal activity and even sometimes for organ harvesting.

The latest global estimate suggests that 45.8 million people are being exploited in modern day forms of slavery in 167 countries across the world.

Recent statistics from the National Crime Agency show the number of people found in situations of possible exploitation is increasing but the 3805 people referred to the authorities in 2016 is still far fewer than the estimated 10,000 - 13,000 people trapped in the horrific cycle of modern day slavery in the UK. 

More concerning is that even those who are referred for help are only given limited support while the authorities decide if there is enough evidence to conclude they have been a victim.  Once they receive that decision the support ends. This leaves many people facing homelessness, destitution and at risk of further exploitation.  

In April, the House of Common’s Work and Pensions Committee strongly criticised the Modern Slavery Act for failing to provide victims with a pathway to recovery and called on the Government to give all victims support and the right to remain in the UK for 12 months so that they can begin a meaningful rehabilitation.

A new Private Members Bill has been proposed by Christian Peer Lord McColl of Dulwich to guarantee victims will be given support for this longer period. The Bill will be debated when Parliament returns in September. 

CARE’s Senior Policy Officer for Human Trafficking, Louise Gleich

“The Modern Slavery Act 2015 was a great leap forward but there is more work to be done to improve the situation of victims”

“It cannot be right that someone receives a letter from the authorities recognising they are a victim, but then not be entitled to any form of support.  We can and must do more to offer victims protection, somewhere safe to live and a helping hand as they recover from their ordeal and begin to rebuild their lives.”

“Lord McColl’s Bill will make sure victims receive this essential support and we hope that peers will give it their backing.”

“At CARE we long to see victims of human trafficking being able to integrate into society and to go on to 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 4731 / 07851 153693 or rachael.adams@care.org.uk

CARE is a leading charity that works with MSPs, MPs, Peers, and MLAs to lobby for changes in legislation relating to human dignity. You can read about the success we’ve had and our latest work here.

The Global Slavery Index 2016 which estimates the global prevalence of modern slavery as 45.8 million is available here.

Note: as the NCA report recognises, the challenge of identifying victims, and the hidden and coercive nature of modern slavery mean that it is likely the true number of victims in the UK is much higher than the figures recorded. 

The House of Commons Work and Pensions Committee report can be found https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201617/cmselect/cmworpen/803/803.pdf

CARE is supporting Lord McColl of Dulwich’s Modern Slavery (Victim Support) Bill which will be debated in the House of Lords in the autumn. This Bill will set out long term support for victims of slavery so that once they are rescued they can access vital support and not slip through the net.  The Bill can be accessed at http://services.parliament.uk/bills/2017-19/modernslaveryvictimsupport.html

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