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ABOUT THE BILL

Victims of modern slavery in England and Wales currently have no legal right to support.

 

The Government provides victims with a limited period of care on a non-statutory basis while the authorities decide if the person is a victim, but then the support ends. 

 

Lord McColl of Dulwich has brought forward a Bill in the House of Lords to put this right.  His Modern Slavery (Victim Support) Bill will give victims in England and Wales a guaranteed right to support during the initial period when the decision about the status is being made, and for a further minimum of 12 months afterwards. 

 

WHY WE

NEED IT

Organisations that support victims have said that a minimum of 12 months of support and permission to be in the UK is the minimum length of time victims need to give them a stable foundation for recovery.

This Bill will protect victims from being vulnerable to re-trafficking, as well as allowing a direct pathway to recovery, ensuring quality of care, and making sure victims’ rights are guaranteed after Brexit.

 

SEBASTIAN

“The number one thing that should be provided for victims of trafficking is stable housing.  I don’t think they should have to work for three months because you need time to adjust to your new circumstances, reintegrate into normal society, recover and learn how to trust people”

MAYA

"I spent years accepting that what my life had become couldn't and wouldn't ever change. It was impossible for me to speak out and nobody around me took any notice of the signs right in front of them."

 

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CONTACT YOUR MP

It is really important that MPs hear from their constituents about why we need the Modern Slavery (Victim Support) Bill. Please contact your MP today. Search your postcode to generate a ready-made email to send to your MP.

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As a resident of your constituency, I am writing to ask you to raise with the Home Secretary the desperate need for new measures to enable victims of modern slavery to make a full recovery.

It is shocking that being confirmed as a victim of modern slavery does not give any rights to stay in this country even for a limited period, despite the fact that a victim may have been exploited right in the heart of our community, washing our cars, painting our nails or picking our vegetables.

Scotland’s Human Trafficking and Exploitation Act provides support to victims while the authorities are determining whether or not they are a victim (the National Referral Mechanism) and also gives Ministers the power to extend support after that process if they so choose.

However, without immigration leave many victims are unable to receive ongoing support whether under the human trafficking legislation or through benefits and local authorities leaving them unable to regain their independence, rebuild their lives or continue their recovery.   

Too few victims are currently being granted discretionary leave which is the only special form of immigration status available for victims of modern slavery: just 70 victims in 2019 compared with 123 in 2015.

In the face of such instability and uncertainty about the future, it is not surprising that so few victims feel able to talk to police and act as witnesses for criminal proceedings against their traffickers, a key factor in the low number of successful prosecutions. 

If we are to break the cycles of trafficking we need to support victims into recovery and in doing so enable more of them give evidence to bring traffickers to justice.  That means that we need to give all of them the chance to stay in this country for a period of time to continue their recovery.

Immigration leave is a reserved matter, which means it can only be addressed in Westminster.

Lord McColl and Sir Iain Duncan Smith MP have brought forward the Modern Slavery (Victim Support) Bill to offer all confirmed victims a period of at least one year of leave to remain after they are formally recognised as a victim by the National Referral Mechanism.  This will enable victims to access ongoing support under the Human Trafficking and Exploitation Act if that is provided, or other services in certain circumstances.

Sadly, the Bill has not even been granted a Second Reading and with so little time left in the session it looks unlikely it will become law. In January the Anti-Slavery Commissioner called for the issues around discretionary leave to be resolved in 2021.* The Government could do this by committing in the Queens Speech to introduce the Modern Slavery (Victim Support) Bill itself in the coming session.

Please would you write to the Home Secretary and ask her to commit in the Queen’s Speech to introducing legislation offering all confirmed victims leave to remain for a year after they are confirmed as a victim by the NRM.

 

*http://www.antislaverycommissioner.co.uk/news-insights/iasc-commentary-supporting-survivors-to-regain-independence/

As a resident of your constituency, I am writing to ask you to raise with the Home Secretary the desperate need for new measures to support victims of modern slavery to make a full recovery.

It is shocking that being confirmed as a victim of modern slavery does not give any rights to ongoing support or to stay in the UK even though a victim may have been exploited right in the heart of our community, washing our cars, painting our nails or picking our vegetables.

The current support provided under the Modern Slavery Victim Care Contract is really only a crisis intervention.  The Statutory Guidance itself says that it is only a ‘bridge to lift adult victims out of a situation of exploitation’ and offers only ‘temporary support.’* 

Helping people in the immediate aftermath of exploitation is important – but without pathways to long term recovery it is little more than a sticking plaster.  Victims who are not supported to make a full ‘physical, psychological and social recovery’ as the international treaties propose are at risk of re-trafficking while the traffickers continue to profit.

The current system relies on transferring victims to other services for their long term recovery, but without immigration leave many victims are ineligible for those services (even more now that the status of EU nationals has changed).  The number of survivors granted discretionary leave to remain in the UK is very low (just 70 victims in 2019 compared with 123 in 2015)

Without a grant of leave non-British victims are left either homeless and destitute, or stuck in safe house accommodation stretching the capacity of those services and unable to regain their independence, rebuild their lives or continue their recovery.

In the face of such instability and uncertainty about the future, including the most basic things like how they will get food and where they will live, it is not surprising that so few victims feel able to talk to police and act as witnesses for criminal proceedings against their traffickers.

In her annual report for 2019-20 the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner said ‘levels of successful criminal justice outcomes are still too low’ and highlighted that ‘If offenders think that there is a very low risk of prosecution, then they are not deterred from committing what is essentially an economic crime’ and more people will be made victims.

Evidence shows that when victims are given specialist longer term support more of them engage with police investigations.   If we are to break the cycles of trafficking, we need to support victims into recovery and in doing so enable more of them to give evidence to bring traffickers to justice.

Lord McColl and Sir Iain Duncan Smith MP have brought forward the Modern Slavery (Victim Support) Bill to offer a period of at least one year of support to all confirmed victims after they are formally recognised as a victim by the National Referral Mechanism – with leave to remain in the UK for that year so that all victims can access the support. 

Sadly, the Bill has not even been granted a Second Reading and with so little time left in the session it looks unlikely it will become law.  In January the Anti-Slavery Commissioner called for the issues around discretionary leave to be resolved in 2021.* The Government could do this by committing in the Queens Speech to introduce the Modern Slavery (Victim Support) Bill itself in the coming session.

Please would you write to the Home Secretary and ask her to commit in the Queen’s Speech to introducing legislation offering a year of support with leave to remain to all confirmed victims.

 

*http://www.antislaverycommissioner.co.uk/news-insights/iasc-commentary-supporting-survivors-to-regain-independence/

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As a resident of your constituency, I am writing to ask you to raise with the Home Secretary the desperate need for new measures to enable victims of modern slavery to make a full recovery.

It is shocking that being confirmed as a victim of modern slavery does not give any rights to stay in this country even for a limited period, despite the fact that a victim may have been exploited right in the heart of our community, washing our cars, painting our nails or picking our vegetables.

Northern Ireland’s Human Trafficking and Exploitation Act provides support to victims while the authorities are determining whether or not they are a victim (the National Referral Mechanism) and also gives Ministers the power to extend support after that process if they so choose.  The Justice Minister has announced that the Department of Justice will be conducting a scoping review to look into the possibility of extending support to confirmed victims after the NRM which is very welcome.  

However, without immigration leave many victims will be unable to receive ongoing support that the Department might decide to introduce. Nor are they currently entitled to other support through benefits and other services. This leaves them unable to regain their independence, rebuild their lives or continue their recovery.  

Too few victims are being granted discretionary leave which is the only special form of immigration status available for victims of modern slavery: just 70 victims in 2019 compared with 123 in 2015.

In the face of such instability and uncertainty about the future, it is not surprising that so few victims feel able to talk to police and act as witnesses for criminal proceedings against their traffickers, a key factor in the low number of successful prosecutions. 

If we are to break the cycles of trafficking we need to support victims into recovery and in doing so enable more of them give evidence to bring traffickers to justice.  That means that we need to give all of them the chance to stay in this country for a period of time to continue their recovery.

Immigration leave is a reserved matter, which means it can only be addressed in Westminster.

Lord McColl and Sir Iain Duncan Smith MP have brought forward the Modern Slavery (Victim Support) Bill to offer all confirmed victims a period of at least one year of leave to remain after they are formally recognised as a victim by the National Referral Mechanism so that all victims can access ongoing support under the Human Trafficking and Exploitation Act, or other services for their recovery if their personal circumstances or a police investigation mean they need it.  A motion supporting the Bill and calling on the UK Parliament to pass it received unanimous support in the Northern Ireland Assembly last October.

Sadly, the Bill has not even been granted a Second Reading and with so little time left in the session it looks unlikely it will become law. In January the Anti-Slavery Commissioner called for the issues around discretionary leave to be resolved in 2021.* The Government could do this by committing in the Queens Speech to introduce the Modern Slavery (Victim Support) Bill itself in the coming session.

Please would you write to the Home Secretary and ask her to commit in the Queen’s Speech to introducing legislation offering all confirmed victims leave to remain for a year after they are confirmed as a victim by the NRM.

 

*http://www.antislaverycommissioner.co.uk/news-insights/iasc-commentary-supporting-survivors-to-regain-independence/

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