Gaps in protection for victims of modern slavery

26 Jan 2018
The drive behind the Government’s programme to tackle modern slavery has never been greater. However, there remain huge gaps in this programme which leave many victims vulnerable, destitute and homeless.

In mobilising support for Lord McColl’s Modern Slavery (Victim Support) Bill), the Free for Good campaign holds out the potential to bridge those gaps. The Bill gives all victims of modern slavery a year’s leave to remain in the UK, so that they can begin to rebuild their lives. It also guarantees them basic support such as housing, health care and education.

The Bill highlights the importance of long term support for victims, who currently only have two weeks to leave Government help once they have received a ‘positive’ decision confirming their status as victims, with many being ejected from safe houses with nowhere to go. Most victims must therefore rely on charities in order to keep afloat.

This limited support is even more worrying in the light of the near total lack of data on outcomes for confirmed victims of modern slavery. The Government does not hold information on the accommodation status of victims, whether they have a right to work in the UK, or even whether they have been deported to country where they have no friends or family. Lord McColl’s Bill and a better understanding of outcomes for victims will allow those who have suffered at the hands of this huge evil to rebuild their lives. This important step towards putting victims first is much needed.