Cuckooing survivor supported by Justice and Care shares her story on ITN News

March 2, 2023

A survivor of her home being taken over by a drug gang, who has been supported by Justice and Care, is hoping her story will help lead to a change in the law – to make cuckooing a modern slavery offence.

Susan, not her real name, has told ITN how she was abused and threatened with extreme violence by a gang who took over her life and home and used it to run their illegal drugs business.

In an interview with Julie Etchingham, Susan explained how she was abused: ‘I spoke a couple of times out of turn, I got burnt with cigarettes on my arms, he cut my tongue.’

Her story comes as Justice and Care and the Centre for Social Justice has called for cuckooing to become a modern slavery offence in a major report published this week.

The report, Slavery at Home, urges a major overhaul of the 2015 Modern Slavery Act. Alongside asking for new legislation on cuckooing, the report calls for better support for survivors, stronger sentences for offenders and more transparency in supply chains.

Labour’s frontbench lead on Domestic Violence and Safeguarding, Jess Phillips, has backed the report. She says we cannot leave victims of the crime to suffer behind closed doors.

‘This paper from Justice and Care and the Centre for Social Justice is a timely and welcome redirection, calling us back to the core of the fight against this horrendous abuse on our doorstep: bringing offenders to justice and supporting victims to recover.’

‘We need to focus on the cause of the problem and stop this being a low risk – high reward crime. The four themes highlighted by the paper give us a road map to achieve this.’

Watch the ITN coverage here to learn more.

Read our new report, Slavery at Home.