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Anti-trafficking charities urge Government to improve support for Modern Slavery victims
Some of the UK’s largest and best known anti-trafficking charities have joined forces to call on the Government to do more for modern slavery victims by backing the Modern Slavery (Victim Support) Bill.
In a letter published in the Guardian, organisations such as the British Retail Consortium, the Co-op and charities like Anti-Slavery International and CARE (Christian Action Research and Education) said that victims of modern slavery are being let down by a lack of adequate support.
To reduce the chances of victims being re-trafficked, the various charities urged the Government to increase the period of guaranteed support from 45 days to a full 12 months.
You can read the full text of the letter and the list of signatories below:
A year after peers overwhelmingly supported a bill to improve care for victims of modern slavery, we wonder how many victims have become homeless or re-trafficked in that time. Conservative peer Lord McColl of Dulwich’s modern slavery (victim support) bill seeks to fill the gaps through which too many victims fall, with many becoming homeless and at risk of repeated exploitation. The bill would also give victims the stability they need to assist with prosecutions, greatly increasing the chance of more traffickers being convicted.
Last October, the government proposed reforms to the victim-care system and yet the only changes to have been implemented are cuts to victims’ financial support. This is unconscionable. We are also concerned that the proposed 45 days of additional support is not enough to put victims on the road to recovery, and is likely to simply postpone the point at which people find themselves homeless and vulnerable to re-trafficking. Victims need at least the 12 months’ support offered by the bill if we are to prevent this happening.
Theresa May wants Britain to lead the world in tackling modern slavery. More than 25,800 people have signed a petition asking the prime minister to lead the way for victims, thousands more have emailed their support to MPs and ministers. It is time for her to give effect to this aspiration by offering sufficient support for victims who are here in the UK. She should adopt the bill, which has now reached the Commons sponsored by Frank Field MP, as her own, and give it time to become law as soon as possible.
We urge the prime minister and home secretary not to let this opportunity pass.
Jasmine O’Connor, chief executive officer, Anti-Slavery International
Helen Dickinson, chief executive, British Retail Consortium
Nola Leach, chief executive, Care
Steve Murrells, chief Executive, Co-op Group
Liisa Wiseman, project manager, Birmingham Methodist District’s Adavu Project
Lara Bundock, CEO, Snowdrop Project
Red Godfrey-Sagoo, CEO, Sophie Hayes Foundation
Bharti Patel, CEO, Ecpat UK
Ben Cooley, chief executive, Hope for Justice
David Westlake, CEO, International Justice Mission UK
Karen Anstiss, service manager, Caritas Bakhita House
Joanna Ewart-James, executive director, Freedom United
Phil McCarthy, CEO, Caritas Social Action Network
Amy Agnew, Europe director, Global Citizen
Louise Gore, Equiano project manager; The Jericho Foundation
Rita Gava, director, Kalayaan
Zarin Hainsworth, chair, National Alliance of Women’s Organisations
Tom Stancliffe, chief executive, Tribe Freedom Foundation
Sister Lynda Dearlove, CEO, women@thewell
Clarissa Drysdale-Anderson, director, YouCanFreeUs
Luke de Pulford, director, Arise Foundation
Kerry Smith, CEO, Helen Bamber Foundation
Sister Colette Cronin, congregational leader of Institute of Our Lady of Mercy
Maureen Meatcher, president, National Board of Catholic Women