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Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration for Survivors of Modern Slavery

The Human Trafficking Foundation (HTF) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) conducted a survey and workshop on behalf of the International Policy Working Group to develop an understanding of the UK’s approach to assisted voluntary return and reintegration for survivors of human trafficking and modern slavery. The findings highlight that the overall picture for survivors returning from the UK is inconsistent, with participants expressing real concerns about safety and risk assessments, lack of information about and contacts with support providers in countries of origin and a lack of clarity and gaps in the current processes.

Full details of survey findings and recommendations are available here

Key recommendations include:

  1. Risk assessment and risk management; including consideration of pre-existing vulnerabilities and a risk management plan with input from actors in both the UK and country of origin.

  2. Information about and contact with support providers in countries of origin; especially those who have an awareness of local support services, their capacity to meet survivor needs, and potential risks and challenges

  3. Clearer processes; involving minimum standards and tools to assist those arranging return and supporting reintegration

It also recommends all relevant organisations follow the guidance on safe, voluntary return and reintegration in the Human Trafficking Foundation Trafficking Survivor Care Standards (2018)

The paper also highlights the need for a review of current policy and practice as it relates to voluntary return for survivors in the UK in order to meaningfully address some of the more structural issues that are leading to inconsistent approaches with gaps and risks for survivors. This could involve exploring the potential benefits of a bespoke programme of support for victims who would like to return home which includes full risk assessments, multi-agency approaches, return and reintegration assistance with organisations that are on the ground in countries of origin.

HTF and IOM are in dialogue with the Home Office about this paper.