A survivor of human trafficking received no support despite receiving a formal decision through the UK Home Office’s framework that he was likely a victim of modern slavery.
Daniel*, a Romanian national in his 30s, was living and working in the UK as a car mechanic when he was exploited for forced labour.
His traffickers promised him a few hundred pounds for every car he fixed but after several weeks of work, repairing multiple vehicles, he never received any pay.
One of the traffickers – a trusted former client – asked for Daniel’s identification documents, supposedly so he could apply for his national insurance. But Daniel never saw his ID again. Instead, he was threatened with violence and asked for money.
No NRM support
The police thankfully found Daniel and referred him into the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) where he received a positive ‘reasonable grounds’ decision – a preliminary acknowledgement that he is likely to have been a victim of modern slavery. This entitled him to temporary safe accommodation and specialist tailored support from the UK Government, which he did not receive.
One of our Community Engagement Specialists who has worked directly with the survivor said: “Daniel was referred into the NRM by the police in 2021 and identified as a potential victim of modern slavery in the UK but unfortunately his case slipped through the system. He didn’t receive any support for about six months. He was left homeless and at even greater risk of exploitation.”
Finding emergency accommodation
Daniel was found living on the streets by a homeless charity, which referred him to Hope for Justice in 2022. Our team, based at our West Yorkshire Hub, was incorrectly told that Daniel had received a negative decision via the NRM.
Our Community Engagement Specialist said: “We reassessed Daniel and believed he was a potential victim of human trafficking. We were able to work together with the survivor and another partner agency to support him to access alternative emergency accommodation and support while looking into his case for a potential reconsideration.”
The team spent several weeks gathering information and evidence. We eventually learned that Daniel had received a positive reasonable grounds decision, and had a pending conclusive grounds decision, meaning he was still entitled for support.
We advocated on Daniel’s behalf resulting in him receiving immediate support from the Salvation Army, which included financial subsistence and outreach support.
Daniel has thanked Hope for Justice for “not giving up on him.”
Our Community Engagement Specialist added: “Our team has worked with Daniel for several months and continued to support him to access a variety of services to help him rebuild his life. Daniel has expressed multiple times that he is very thankful to Hope for Justice for believing in him and not giving up on him like other services have done, and for all the support he has had throughout the process.”
Hope for Justice has supported the survivor to engage with the NRM support. We have also worked alongside professionals and agencies to ensure that Daniel could obtain new documents and access alternative accommodation. This has involved gathering and providing information as well as supporting the survivor with language translations.
Daniel is still awaiting a ‘conclusive grounds’ (final) decision on whether the UK Government believes he is a victim of modern slavery.
*Name and image changed to protect identity of the survivor
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