The government needs to do more to protect victims of human trafficking

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Wednesday 17 July 2019 19:05 BST
The detention of 479 potential victims of trafficking highlights severe flaws in the detention gatekeeping process
The detention of 479 potential victims of trafficking highlights severe flaws in the detention gatekeeping process (AFP)

We are deeply concerned by the government’s response to a new report outlining the detention of 507 potential victims of human trafficking in 2018 alone.

Last week the minister of state for immigration, Caroline Nokes MP, clarified that “479 [potential victims of trafficking] received a positive decision on reasonable grounds during a detention period” and that “422 people were released within a week”.

We believe that the detention of 479 potential victims of trafficking highlights severe flaws in the detention gatekeeping process, which is meant to identify vulnerable people. The failure of UK authorities to protect hundreds of potential victims who have indicators of exploitation, and 29 more whose legal status recognises them as potential victims, should be cause for investigation and not commendation.

There is a conflict of interest between the Home Office’s remits on immigration enforcement and its responsibility to identify and refer vulnerable people including victims of modern-day slavery. Until now, the exact scale of this problem has gone largely unchallenged due to a lack of data transparency.

Finally, it is on the point of data transparency that we petition government. Last month, Nokes told Frank Field MP that “there is no central record of those who have received a positive conclusive grounds decision and are detained under immigration powers”.

However, After Exploitation was able to obtain this data through FOI requests.

We ask the government not to wait for public scrutiny to make data on the support, deportation and detention outcomes of trafficking and potential trafficking victims available.

We must be assured that these findings will provoke a commitment to transparent reporting on slavery and trafficking outcomes, that any interaction with the national referral mechanism (NRM) will trigger automatic release from detention, and that the Home Office’s involvement in both detention gatekeeping and the NRM will be reconsidered.

After Exploitation
African Rainbow Family

Amnesty International

Anti-Slavery International

AVID (Association of Visitors to Immigration Detainees)

Bail for Immigration Detainees

Detention Action

Equality Now

Freedom United

Freed Voices

Gatwick Detainees Welfare Group

Jesuit Refugee Service

Joint Council on the Welfare of Immigrants


Manchester Immigration Detention Support Team

Medical Justice

Migrants’ Rights Network

Refugee Council

Refugee Week

Scottish Detainee Visitors Group

Snowdrop Project

UK Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group

Women for Refugee Women 

Theresa May has a lot of nerve accusing Labour of racism

In one of her last PMQs before she disappears into the dustbin of history, Theresa May accused Jeremy Corbyn of “failing to deal with racism” in the Labour Party.

This is the same Theresa May who built the “hostile environment” against immigrants, whose policies led to the Windrush scandal, and who boasted to the Commons that her legislation would allow her to “deport first – hear appeals after”.

This is the same Theresa May who approved the scheme which saw vans touring London telling immigrants to “go home”.

This is from the Theresa May who took no action against Boris Johnson when he vilified Muslim women in the press last year, and the same Theresa May who refused to act against the widespread Islamophobia in the Tory party. This comes from the same Theresa May who invited Donald Trump to the UK twice, despite his long and filthy record of racism, and threw a state banquet at Buckingham Palace in his honour.

The principled anti-racist Jeremy Corbyn refused to attend May’s banquet for Trump and joined the anti-Trump protests instead.

Sasha Simic
London N16

It’s not just young public sector workers who are in financial trouble

In response to your article (Housing crisis: Nurses and teachers priced out of UK regions by rising rents), it is not only the 22-29-year-old public servants included in the report who are at the mercy of the spiralling cost of living. While those at the beginning of their careers may not be able to save, long-serving NHS and public sector workers are being forced into unaffordable high cost credit just to manage everyday bills.

Until unscrupulous lenders with their broken credit-scoring systems are fully held to account for pushing fast, unaffordable personal debt, our public servants will continue to be financially exploited. We believe that in 2019 there is an alternative: using open banking data and genuine affordability to help workers find a manageable route out of debt.

Tim Rooney, CEO Salad Money

Trump may be racist but at least he’s honest

President Donald Trump’s disparaging comments are disrespectful, disgraceful and repugnant to say the least. However, I truly believe that Trump is the most sincere, honest and straightforward president in American history. He is the personality of the century. He promised to milk Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states and he did. He pledged to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and to acknowledge Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights and he did. Also, wasn’t President George Bush a racist when he unleashed his war dogs on Iraq, based on spurious pretences? Wasn’t President Barack Obama racist when he gave a carte blanche for coalition troops to attack Libya, Syria, Iraq and Yemen, or when he gave Israel his unconditional support?

Dr Munjed Farid Al Qutob
London NW2

Everything a cyclist needs for the world’s steepest street

With such a dearth of good news, I appreciated your report on Ffordd Pen Llech’s elevation to “world’s steepest street” status. As a cyclist of a certain age, I have climbed a number of such challenges, so I must now put Harlech on my bucket list. However, I would first like assurance that there are two facilities at the top: firstly a real ale pub, and secondly a red phone box housing a defibrillator, preferably in that order.

Rev Peter Share
High Peak

Poor chimps shouldn’t be subjected to TV watching

Why the excitement about chimps watching TV? Makes me feel incredibly sad to think of these beautiful creatures held captive and being stuck in front of TV for no purpose. It won’t improve our lives and certainly won’t improve the chimps’ lives. It’s sick.

Fran Giddings

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