Backing for trafficked victim support bill
A Christian charity has called on peers to support a bill that gives greater support to victims of human trafficking when Parliament returns in September
The call from Christian Action Education and Research (CARE) coincided with the UN World Day against Trafficking in Persons (30 July).
A new Private Members Bill has been proposed by Christian Peer Lord McColl of Dulwich to guarantee victims will be given support for 12 months.
Currently those who are referred for help are only given limited support while the authorities decided if there is enough evidence to conclude they have been a victim. Once they receive that decision the support ends. This leaves many people facing homelessness, destitution and at risk of further exploitation.
In April, the House of Common’s Work and Pensions Committee strongly criticised the Modern Slavery Act for failing to provide victims with a pathway to recovery. It called on the Government to give all victims support and the right to remain in the UK for 12 months so that they can begin a meaningful rehabilitation.
The Bill will be debated when Parliament returns in September, and CARE's Senior Policy Officer for Human Trafficking, Louise Gleich, hopes it will receive support.
She said, 'The Modern Slavery Act 2015 was a great leap forward but there is more work to be done to improve the situation of victims.
'It cannot be right that someone receives a letter from the authorities recognising they are a victim, but then not be entitled to any form of support. We can and must do more to offer victims protection, somewhere safe to live and a helping hand as they recover from their ordeal and begin to rebuild their lives.
'Lord McColl’s Bill will make sure victims receive this essential support and we hope that peers will give it their backing.
'At CARE we long to see victims of human trafficking being able to integrate into society and to go on to lead fulfilling lives, but this can only happen if we make it easy for victims to get the support and help that they need.'
Human trafficking is an abhorrent crime that exploits women, children and men for numerous purposes – including for sex, forced labour, domestic servitude, and criminal activity and even sometimes for organ harvesting.
The latest global estimate suggests that 45.8 million people are being exploited in modern day forms of slavery in 167 countries across the world.
Recent statistics from the National Crime Agency show the number of people found in situations of possible exploitation is increasing. However, CARE stated that the 3805 people referred to the authorities in 2016 is still far fewer than the estimated 10,000 - 13,000 people trapped in the "horrific cycle of modern day slavery" in the UK.