Joint statement on detention changes

Joint statement regarding changes to the detention of vulnerable people, made without Parliamentary scrutiny, which specialist organisations predict will result in more trafficking victms being held behind bars:

“We are deeply concerned by imminent changes to detention policy – due to become law on 25 May – which will increase the number of modern slavery survivors locked up due to their immigration status. The changes to vulnerability criteria, laid before Parliament without debate, will remove safeguards for people recognised as ‘potential victims of trafficking’.

In practice, even survivors recognised by the Home Office as being entitled to trafficking support, may still be held behind bars.

These changes will be catastrophic for victims who face increased risk of suicidal ideation, psychological and physical health deterioration if detained. It is unthinkable that survivors, already coming to terms with severe trauma and deprivation of liberty at the hands of their traffickers, are already failed for a second time under Home Office policy. Since 2019 alone, 2,914 potential victims were locked up for ‘immigration offences’ often related to their trafficking.

Now, if implemented, changes to detention guidance will be made to the detriment of survivors’ recovery. We must unequivocally challenge moves to weaken safeguards which should be urgently strengthened.

In a Committee response, the Home Office has acknowledged that more survivors could be detained under the changes. Now, MPs were only given #30DaystoAct before the Statutory Instrument comes into force. We urge MPs to support the fatal Early Day motion, tabled by Sir Keir Starmer, which would trigger a debate on the issue and introduce the possibility of annulling the change altogether by 22 April.

Seeking asylum is not a crime, and being trafficked makes you the victim of one. As organisations researching and supporting those affected, we are deeply concerned that both of these distinct but overlapping groups of highly vulnerable individuals will bear the brunt of anti-migrant policies already being enacted by Government behind closed doors.”


After Exploitation,
AIRE Centre,
Anti Slavery International,
Bail for Immigration Detainees,
Equality Now,
Focus on Labour Exploitation,
Freedom From Torture,
Freedom United,
Govan Community Project,
Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association,
Jesuit Refugee Service
Medical Justice,
Migrants’ Rights Network,
Scottish Detainee Visitors,

Unseen UK,
Women For Refugee Wome

4 replies on “Joint statement on detention changes”

Effort would be better spent on international co-operation on nailing & jailing the traffickers, and their customers, the people who provide the market. In reality, the people who are the market are the worst of all, take away the market the problem reduces, goes away. How much more cost to the British taxpayer is there in keeping even more people, who are the victims, not the criminals, in Jail?
This seems like a particularly stupid idea by some power-hungry little, or group of xenophobic little twats.
The fact that such a significant change can be made without reference to Parliament & largely out of the public eye is a very worrying development in Britain. It’d the sort of thing you might expect in Russia, China, and a list of other places, and now you might include America.
NOT what you would expect in a “civilized” country.
Yes, there is a problem that needs to be tackled but jailing victims for being victims? Nest thing they will be jailing normal citizens for allowing themselves to be robbed on the street or burgled at home with this sort of thinking!


Trafficking victims are VICTIMS not villains- they should not be treated like criminals- this Government is embarrassingly not caring about sufferers enough, sadly…


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