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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