The Human Trafficking Foundation’s primary focus is on improving support for victims of human trafficking and modern slavery. The lack of long-term government-funded support and accommodation provided by the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) is of great concern, and has been the subject to two recent reports: Life Beyond the Safe House and Day 46.
The NRM is the mechanism by which potential victims of trafficking receive access to support and are identified as victims of trafficking. After being referred to the NRM, a Reasonable Grounds decision is made on the basis of ‘suspect but cannot prove’ that the individual is a victim. If this decision is positive, the individual is offered safe house accommodation, specialist support and legal aid for a guaranteed 45 days or until a Conclusive Grounds decision is made that he or she has been trafficked.
Crucially, once this Conclusive Grounds decision is made support is abruptly withdrawn: if negative, the individual has 2 days to leave the safe house; if positive, they have 2 weeks. This early and sudden removal of support unfortunately leaves victims vulnerable.
Life Beyond the Safe House urges the Government to review its approach to move-on support for survivors of modern slavery to help survivors recover from their experiences and integrate into society. This would help reduce the risk of re-trafficking.
The report makes clear that a cohesive approach to victim support would mean survivors would be more likely to recover and regain control over their lives, and become more confident and independent, which in turn will allow them to become active members of society.
Read the report here
Day 46 followed the lives of survivors after they left the safe house. The research found that a quarter of victims disappeared after being rescued: of 73 potential interviewees, a few months after exiting the shelter, 18 were completely unaccounted for.
Jess Phillips MP, Vice-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery describes the report as a “damning indictment of our failure to protect victims of trafficking”
Read the report here
Long-Term Support Recommendations: The Foundation has also worked with our partners throughout the anti-trafficking sector who work with survivors of trafficking during and after the NRM process or who operate at a policy level to produce recommendations for long-term support for victims of trafficking.
This coalition recommends that:
1. There should be multiagency involvement in decision making which should inform ongoing support
2. A positive Conclusive Grounds decision must carry status
3. Legal advice and representation must be offered early to all potential victims of trafficking or modern slavery
4. Individual case workers should be available to each trafficked or enslaved person to deliver casework support and individual advocacy following a positive Conclusive Grounds decision
5. Safe house accommodation move-on timetables should be more flexible with support diminishing according to need
Read the report here
Trafficking Survivor Care Standards
The Trafficking Survivor Care Standards aim to provide a blueprint for high quality care to adult survivors of modern slavery. The Standards provide a flexible framework with guiding principles and practical recommendations that support agencies can incorporate into their own existing policies and procedures. The goal is to promote an integrated, holistic and empowering approach that places the real needs of survivors at the centre of the process of sustained recovery, far beyond the ‘reflection period’.
These standards are the result of a collaborative Expert Working Group, formed of front-line practitioners, including: Ashiana, BAWSO, City Hearts, Counter Human Trafficking Bureau, Helen Bamber Foundation, Hestia, Housing for Women, Human Trafficking Foundation, Medaille Trust, Eaves Poppy Project, The Salvation Army, Community Safety Glasgow – TARA Service, Unseen.
“I am committed to ensuring that survivors receive the care and support they need to rebuild their lives. The guidelines laid out in this document provide clear navigation of the pathways that can be followed to ensure that every survivor across the UK will receive consistently high quality levels of support. I look forward to working with the Foundation to ensure that these recommendations are adopted and implemented across the country.”
Kevin Hyland OBE, Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner
Read the Care Standards here
If you want to get a copy of the Trafficking Survivor Care Standards, please, contact Kate Roberts. There is a suggested donation of £5 per copy to recoup the printing cost