New Bill Proposed to End Cycle of Exploitation Against Human Trafficking Victims

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  • Government urged to back Lord McColl’s Modern Slavery (Victim Support) Bill

Tomorrow the House of Lords gears up to tackle one of the biggest injustices facing human trafficking victims today: the lack of support they receive once they have been formally identified as a victim of trafficking.

Currently, a trafficking victim is only entitled to 45 days of support following their rescue. A recent report by the House of Commons Work and Pensions Select Committee have labelled the current system of support as having ‘inexcusable failures’, arguing that this system not only leaves many victims destitute but enables their traffickers go unpunished.

Lord McColl’s Modern Slavery (Victim Support) Bill explicitly addresses these concerns. Trafficking victims would be entitled to support for a full year which would include safe accommodation. This would ensure that victims would not end up homeless and vulnerable, which is sadly the case for many of them currently.

There are currently 10,000 - 13,000 victims of modern slavery estimated to be in the UK, but the National Crime Agency have recently warned that this is just the tip of the iceberg.

The Modern Slavery Act has come under criticism for its lack of victim support measures, unlike legislation introduced in Northern Ireland and Scotland which both offer a minimum guarantee of care.

CARE Senior Policy Officer for Human Trafficking, Louise Gleich, who gave evidence to the Work and Pensions Committee on current support for victims of trafficking

“Current support for human trafficking victims is inadequate and is in serious need of urgent reform. This is why Lord McColl’s Bill is vital.”

“The Modern Slavery Act does not provide victims of trafficking with the support they need in order to recover and rebuild their lives. Many end up destitute and homeless, meaning that they become prey to traffickers once more and this brutal cycle repeats itself.”

“The Government should get behind this Bill – by doing so they would help end the current injustice of slavery victims who fall back into the grasps of exploitation precisely because of the lack of support currently available to them.”

“This Bill will help restore dignity to victims of trafficking, ensuring that they are able to access the help and support they need in order to rebuild their lives and begin the process of reintegrating back into society.” 

“The Prime Minister has committed the UK to leading the world in combatting modern slavery – to do that we must put the care of victims first.”

Ends

Notes to the editor:

For more information please contact Rachael Adams on 020 7227 4731 / 07851 153693 or rachael.adams@care.org.uk

CARE campaigns for better anti-trafficking policy and legislation with a particular focus on caring for victims and tackling the demand that sustains trafficking in the UK.

Click here for more information about CARE’s work on human trafficking.

Read the Work and Pensions Committee report in full here: http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-sele...

Read more about CARE’s evidence to the Work and Pensions Committee inquiry here: https://www.care.org.uk/news/latest-news/support-human-trafficking-victi...

Information about Lord McColl’s Bill:  https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/bills/lbill/2017-2019/0004/18004.pdf

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