Coronavirus briefing: "Suspend 'Hostile Environment' to safeguard modern slavery victims"

After Exploitation is calling on the Government to suspend Hostile Environment policies during the Coronavirus. The move would play a role in safeguarding vulnerable people, including survivors of modern slavery who may not be engaging with support through disignated channels such as the National Referral Mechanism (NRM).

Our briefing, released today, outlines the ways in which a commitment to halting detention, and encouraging ease of testing and treatment amongst vulnerable populations, will also play a vital role in slowing the spread of the pathogen amongst the wider population.

After Exploitation’s briefing, Slavery and Status Under the Pandemic, explores the barriers to health and support, posed by immigration reprisals, as they impact exploitation survivors. The document outlines a case for:

ALLOWING VICTIMS TO ACCESS HEALTHCARE WITH CONFIDENCE
A health amnesty for all individuals in the UK, so that all individuals can access treatment and support in confidence, regardless of immigration status

SUSPENDING IMMIGRATION DETENTION
All immigration detention must be suspended, in light of the risks ‘congregate’ settings post to both detainees and the public during the pandemic.

EXTENDING SUPPORT
Ensure all accommodation, benefits and safeguards made available to the homeless and low-waged workers are available regardless of immigration status (including NRPF).

CLARIFYING CORONAVIRUS BILL MEASURES
Reassure the public on provisions in the Coronavirus Bill, including a promise that prisons and detention centres will never be ‘suitable places’ for assessment and treatment. The suitability of Immigration Officers in providing a public health function must be examined, and reassurances that documents shared for the purposes of an individual’s treatment will not be used for immigration enforcement purposes at a later date.

The full briefing can be downloaded here:

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