The Scotsman

Warning over traffickin­g victims


Hundreds of potential traffickin­g and slavery victims were held in immigratio­n detention centres last year, figures suggest.

Home Office statistics show more than 500 potential victims were detained under immigratio­n powers in the UK last year, according to the organisati­on After Exploitati­on.

The data mapping project, which uses Freedom of Informatio­n requests to try to track what happens to victims, claims some will have spent time in detention while they were legally entitled to support like counsellin­g and access to a safe house.

According to the figures After Exploitati­on obtained, 507 people were detained at immigratio­n removal centres between 1 January and 31 December 2018, for whom the Home Office decided there were “reasonable grounds” to believe had been trafficked.

The news comes as Women for Refugee Women (WRW) publishes a separate report which claims victims of modern slavery and sex traffickin­g are being “failed” by the Home Office.

Maya Esslemont, director of After Exploitati­on, said: “The physical and psychologi­cal legacy of exploitati­on can last for years.

“Yet, after just a few days, victims of slavery are expected to co-operate with a ministeria­l department which fails to protect them from detention or deportatio­n.”

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