subscribe: Posts | Comments

Report outlines help survivors of trafficking need


British Red Cross, Hestia Ashiana, research, report, recommendations, support, survivors of trafficking, National Referral MechanismSpecialist support would prevent them falling back into the hands of traffickers.

Three charities have said they are concerned that victims of trafficking are being forced into homelessness, destitution and further exploitation due to the lack of support made available to them.

New research from the British Red Cross, London-based Hestia and Sheffield-based Ashiana has revealed that the Home Office’s policy of giving recognised survivors of trafficking only 45 days of accommodation and financial support leaves them facing poverty and struggling to cope with complex mental health needs.

According to the research, those without UK or EU nationality are placed at the most risk as they have no automatic right to remain in the UK after the Home Office has accepted them as being survivors of trafficking.

As a result, they are not eligible for many forms of support such as healthcare, secure accommodation and mental health treatment.

Freedom of Information data obtained by the British Red Cross found that 752 people recognised as survivors of trafficking between 2015 and 2017 had had no right to remain in the UK and had therefore been unable to access permanent accommodation, mental health support and financial assistance.

The British Red Cross, which is one of the few organisations providing emergency support to people when they leave exploitation, has worked alongside specialist support organisations Hestia and Ashiana over the past 12 months to pilot a model of long-term support to survivors of trafficking across the UK.

Half of those supported by the project were female survivors of sexual exploitation, yet most of them had previously been placed in mixed-sex accommodation where male guests had unregulated access to the property – putting the women at risk of further exploitation.

The pilot found that the lack of suitable permanent accommodation available to non-UK/EU nationals was exacerbating the mental ill-health of survivors and putting them at an unreasonable risk of re-trafficking.

Repeated re-housing also resulted in survivors – 66 per cent of whom had mental health needs – having substantial difficulties accessing treatment and repeatedly having to go to the bottom of waiting lists.

And over half of those supported by the pilot had children, yet their needs were rarely considered in decisions made about their parent, and the repeated moves had a negative impact on the children’s wellbeing and education.

The three charities are now using the findings to call on the government agencies to create care pathways that place the survivors of trafficking at their heart.

This includes calling on the Home Office to provide tailored support for at least one year to anyone recognised as a survivor of trafficking under the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) – the UK government’s process for determining whether someone is a survivor of modern slavery – as well as leave to remain in the UK for at least 30 months to give people the time to recover and receive the help they need.

The National Referral Mechanism (NRM) is the UK government’s system for determining whether or not they believe a person is a survivor of trafficking. The decision often takes several months, or even years, and while people can access support and accommodation while they wait, this support ends just weeks after the decision is made. Being recognised as a survivor doesn’t come with an entitlement to further specialist support, which would help people to recover and rebuild their lives.

The charities also want people who have been found to be survivors of trafficking to be able to access secure, appropriate long-term accommodation, and people who are leaving the NRM with a negative conclusive grounds decision to have a care pathway in place to help them access advice

The call comes a month after the Home Office, facing a judicial review of their current policy, were forced to accept that longer-term support is needed for victims of trafficking.

But details of what this system will look like are still to be announced.

To read the full report, ‘Hope for the Future: Support for survivors of trafficking after the National Referral Mechanism’, click here.

Please forward this to your MP and ask them to support the recommendations.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *