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.”