City Bridge Trust funded report reveals modern slavery survivors 'abandoned'
On Monday 13th July, the Human Trafficking Foundation will launch a report that reveals “Life Beyond the Safe House for Survivors of Modern Slavery in London”. The report brings some disturbing evidence as to what happens to survivors of modern slavery after they leave safe houses in London and are left to an unknown future.
Currently there is no clear picture as to what happens to survivors of modern slavery once they are discovered in the UK. Some disappear immediately, whilst others agree to enter the Government scheme for identification, referral and support – the ‘National Referral Mechanism’. However, no one knows what follows after these vulnerable adults leave the initial Government funded accommodation, known as the ‘reflection period’. The Home Office acknowledges that there is no obligation in the Government contract to monitor the outcomes for people who have received such support; either where they go or what they do to support themselves when the Government duty of care ends.
In 2014 the Human Trafficking Foundation set out to look at what could be done to change the current system which, in effect, allows survivors to ‘disappear’, with no authority or individual allocated responsibility for their future safety and welfare. Whilst conducting the research the Foundation heard many distressing stories about the difficulties faced by vulnerable adults in obtaining access to even the most rudimentary support. Although they have escaped from their traffickers, have been rescued and placed in a short-term safe environment, the majority of these survivors lose any further engagement with the statutory services. This puts them at high risk of being drawn back into exploitative or abusive situations. Many professionals believe that the survivors they come into contact with are at risk of further harm and re-trafficking because of their high vulnerability.
The Foundation is calling for urgent action from Central Government and Local Authorities to remedy this issue. Appropriate measures need to be introduced to ensure consistent and coherent move-on and ‘post safe house’ support across the UK.
Tatiana Jardan, Director of the Human Trafficking Foundation, said:
“We believe that if no effective strategy is put in place to prevent re-victimisation by ensuring long-term support to survivors of modern slavery, the cycle of abuse and exploitation of vulnerable people may continue unabated.”
This report was supported by the City of London Corporation’s charity, City Bridge Trust. It would not have been possible without the participation of all the survivors, who bravely spoke about their experiences and professionals who provided their unwavering support.
See full report.