To trample over the intentions of the Modern Slavery Act is reprehensible

The new Nationality and Borders Bill goes against the experience of anyone working with victims of modern slavery, writes Caroline Haughey

Sunday 14 November 2021 15:52
<p>‘Assumptions cannot feature in our legal system’ </p>

‘Assumptions cannot feature in our legal system’

An underlying principle of the UK’s justice system is the concept that – apart from minor offences – there is no time limit to bring someone to justice.

Yet, in a new piece of legislation, we are creating a time bar for complaints from potential victims of modern slavery. The government’s Nationality and Borders Bill makes it clear that, if a victim of such a crime does not disclose their exploitation when they first connect with authorities, there will be an assumption that they are lying.

This assumption determines the care offered to an individual. Under the current system, someone claiming to be a slavery victim enters the National Referral Mechanism (NRM). Support is given and evidence built as to whether there are reasonable grounds to accept that the person is telling the truth.

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