The key to securing more modern slavery and human trafficking convictions in the UK is through victims’ testimony and engagement with the police. Yet the Nationality and Borders Bill is likely to make it more difficult to identify victims and will hinder their access to support so their vital evidence will be lost and misses the opportunity to enable more victims to engage with prosecutions.

Report stage on the Bill will take place this week (7th and 8th December) and there is an opportunity for you to ask your local MP to support amendments to the Bill – to be fairer to victims and firmer on criminals. Send a copy of the letter below to your local MP:

Dear [Insert MP name]

I am writing as a concerned constituent [insert address with postcode]. The Nationality and Borders Bill has its Report stage this week (7th and 8th December), and I ask that you consider the inadvertent but serious challenges this Bill is likely to cause to the fight against slavery. 

Modern slavery is the fastest growing crime in the world and it is everywhere – including in the UK where estimates, based on police data, put the number of victims at more than 100,000.  The criminals responsible are very rarely prosecuted and the cost to taxpayers, particularly in terms of benefit fraud, is huge.  

Unless we significantly increase prosecution rates slavery will remain a low risk/high reward crime and the issue of modern slavery in this country will continue to rise. Key to securing more convictions is victims’ testimony and engagement with the police. Yet this Bill is likely to make it more difficult to identify victims and will hinder their access to support so their vital evidence will be lost and misses the opportunity to enable more victims to engage with prosecutions.  

There is an opportunity to improve this Bill – to be fairer to victims and firmer on criminals.  

Please support New Clause 47 to replace clause 64 with a system that will give confirmed victims the support they need to engage with police investigations and build a safe, independent future.

The Bill currently offers no support after someone is confirmed by the Home Office to be a victim and the current policies are not working to help more victims participate in criminal proceedings.  

The non-statutory support available is limited and short term so victims have no stability and remain at risk of re-exploitation.  The temporary leave to remain offered in clause 64 is even more limited than the current policy and does not provide the certainty that enables victims to have confidence to engage with police.

New Clause 47 will:

  • provide new long-term statutory support for all people confirmed by the Home Office to be victims for a minimum of 12 months, including British nationals (in England and Wales),
  • grant temporary leave to remain for all confirmed victims in the UK for at least 12 months to receive support, assist police with their enquiries, or seek compensation,
  • protect the immigration system by being open only to genuine victims confirmed by the Home Office, meaning only a relatively small number of people will benefit ( there were approx. 1,700 non-UK national confirmed victims in 2020)

 

This change will ensure the Bill better meets the Government’s aim to be “firm but fair”  —fair to confirmed victims and firm on criminals.

I, like you, want to eradicate modern slavery from our country. But to do so requires us to provide support not barriers to victims so that we see more traffickers behind bars. That is why I am asking you to support new clause 47.

Yours sincerely

[Insert name and address]

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