CHARITY SECTOR LETTER: DON’T PUNISH SURVIVORS FOR COMING FORWARD

[Letter downloadable here]

Joint letter from 30+ NGOs to The Telegraph, in response to Modern slavery law ‘is biggest loophole’ for migrants Theresa May’s legislation exploited by criminals to escape deportation, says former minister published 17 August 2022

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 of abuse must not be punished for speaking out.

[1] https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/modern-slavery-national-referral-mechanism-and-duty-to-notify-statistics-uk-end-of-year-summary-2021/modern-slavery-national-referral-mechanism-and-duty-to-notify-statistics-uk-end-of-year-summary-2021#:~:text=In%202021%2C%20the%20NRM%20received,referrals%20since%20the%20NRM%20began
[2] https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1033986/2021_UK_Annual_Report_on_Modern_Slavery.pdf (pg 42)

SIGNATORIES

After Exploitation, Maya Esslemont, Director
Anti-Slavery International, Jasmine O’Connor OBE, CEO
Anti Trafficking Monitoring Group (ATMG), Jamie Fookes, Group Coordinator
Anti Trafficking Labour and Exploitation Unit (ATLEU), Victoria Marks, Director
Asylum Welcome, Mark Goldring, Director
Bail for Immigration Detainees (BID), Annie Viswanathan, Director
Breaking Barriers, Matt Powell, CEO
Detention Action, Bella Sankey, Director
Duncan Lewis Public Law, Toufique Hossain, Director
East European Resource Centre (EERC), Florina Tudose, Advocacy Programme Manager
Every Child Protected Against Trafficking (ECPAT), Patricia Durr, CEO
Focus on Labour Exploitation (FLEX), Lucila Granada, Chief Executive
Freedom From Torture, Steve Crawshaw, Director of Policy and Advocacy
Freedom United, Joanna Ewart-James, Executive Director
Hope for Justice, Phillipa Roberts, Head of Policy and Research
Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS), Sarah Teather, Director
Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigration (JCWI), Paola Uccellari, Interim Director
Kanlungan Filipino Consortium, Andrea Martinez, Director
Labour Exploitation Advisory Group (LEAG), Gisela Valle, Chair
Latin American Women’s Rights Service (LAWRS), Gisela Valle, Chief Executive
Medical Justice, Emma Gin, Director
Migrants at Work, Ake Achi, Director
Migrants’ Rights Network, Fizza Qureshi, CEO
Migrant Voice, Nazek Ramadan, Director
No Accommodation Network (NACCOM), Bridget Young, Director
Praxis, Josephine Whitaker-Yilmaz, Policy and Public Affairs Manager
Refugee Action, Tim Naor Hilton, Chief Executive
Refugee Support Group
, Nick Harbourne, CEO
Rene Cassin, Mia Hasenson-Gross, Executive Director
Slave Free Alliance, Tim Nelson, CEO
Voices in Exile, Mel Steel, Director
Voice of Domestic Workers, Marissa Begonia, Director
Women for Refugee Women, Alphonsine Kabagabo, Director
Work Right Centre, Dr Dora-Olivia Vicol, CEO

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