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August 18, 2022

Telegraph response – Survivors must not be punished for coming forward

Hope for Justice has joined with anti-trafficking and human rights organisations across the UK in issuing the below statement following the front-page story in The Daily Telegraph yesterday:

 

We are concerned by renewed attempts, as published in The Telegraph yesterday (17 August), to restrict the already basic, and inconsistent, support offered to survivors of modern slavery in the UK.

 

As organisations working, and advocating with, survivors of modern slavery, we are unanimous in our message: All victims of modern slavery deserve safe housing, and a caseworker, so that they can rebuild their lives after exploitation. Yet, organisations such as ours have watched with dismay as these basic forms of support have been rolled back under existing legislation and turned into debating points.

 

Whilst Chris Philp MP is correct in stating that modern slavery referrals have risen in the UK, we are more worried by the comparable rise in modern slavery cases which are logged by professionals but never followed up. Such survivors, who slip through the net, are often left to fend for themselves after fleeing abuse. This lack of support greatly increases their chances of reprisals or re-trafficking, and emboldens the abusers this Government claims to pursue.

 

Last year, 3,190 suspected survivors of extreme exploitation were identified but never passed on for support.[1] Even amongst those fortunate enough to be identified as victims, only 1 in 5 (21%) received all of the support requested for them.[2] The current system already struggles to consistently identify and support survivors of human trafficking.

 

Rather than making life even harder for survivors of modern slavery, the Government must commit to further identification and support. All of us must be clear: Survivors must not be punished for speaking out.

 

REFERENCES:
[1] Modern Slavery: National Referral Mechanism and Duty to Notify Statistics. Year end summary 2021. Home Office.
[2] Annual Modern Slavery Report 2021. Home Office

 

SIGNED:
// After Exploitation
// Anti-Slavery International Anti Trafficking Monitoring Group (ATMG)
// Anti Trafficking Labour and Exploitation Unit (ATLEU)
// Asylum Welcome
// Bail for Immigration Detainees (BID)
// Breaking Barriers Detention Action
// Duncan Lewis Public Law
// East European Resource Centre (EERC)
// Every Child Protected Against Trafficking (ECPAT)
// Focus on Labour Exploitation (FLEX)
// Freedom From Torture
// Freedom United
// Hope for Justice
// Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS)
// Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigration (JCWI)
// Kanlungan Filipino Consortium
// Labour Exploitation Advisory Group (LEAG)
// Latin American Women’s Rights Service (LAWRS)
// Medical Justice
// Migrants at Work
// Migrants’ Rights Network
// Migrant Voice
// No Accommodation Network (NACCOM)
// Praxis Refugee Action Refugee Support Group Rene Cassin
// Slave-Free Alliance
// Voices in Exile
// Voice of Domestic Workers
// Women for Refugee Women
// Work Right Centre