October 18th was the UK’s Anti-Slavery Day, enacted back in 2010 as an Act of Parliament, with the intention to acknowledge and raise awareness for the estimated 40 million victims of modern slavery and human trafficking victims worldwide. Though the UK made strides in the global fight against modern slavery by enacting the Modern Slavery Act 2015, the first of its kind, in 2019, there were over ten thousand potential modern slavery victims identified in the UK alone. Each year Anti-Slavery Day reminds us of the individuals, communities, and even business exposed to the crime of Modern Slavery.
This year, over 50+ NGOs, academics and law firms have signed an open letter directed to the Prime Minister Boris Johnson, calling for better protections and improved immigration policies for survivors of Modern Slavery. The letter highlights the plight of victims in immigration detention centres run in ‘prison-like’ conditions, and the practical disparity whereby more survivors than perpetrators are held ‘behind bars’.
Experts are calling on the UK Government to ‘turn the tide’: by ensuring victims of trafficking do not face punitive immigration control measures and Modern Slavery survivors receive needed support, particularly urging the Government to ensure victims receive support and immigration protection for at least 12 months – in line with the proposed Modern Slavery (Victim Support) Bill. At present, traffickers threats of detention and deportation as a mechanism to control vulnerable whilst victims already struggle to secure protection under the current asylum process as it is ‘notorious for disbelief’.
Several signatories to the letter can be found in the HTMSE Directory which connects modern slavery and human trafficking victims with experts in modern slavery across all areas of practice. We encourage anyone, whether a professional, NGO, charity, business, lawyer, medical practitioner, or other expert or specialist organisation not listed in the HTMSE directory to sign up to create a profile here: https://humantraffickingexperts.com/main/signup