New NHS guidelines created with Justice and Care’s expertise

June 28, 2023

Justice and Care has helped create new guidelines for NHS staff in England and Wales on how to respond to potential human trafficking victims.

There are estimated to be more than 100,000 modern slavery victims silently hidden across the UK, and many of these people may come into contact with medics.

One harrowing example of this saw a Nigerian politician take a young man to an NHS hospital in a ‘horrific’ plan to remove his kidney last year.

The VITA project’s Modern Slavery awareness, signposting, and referral system aims to ensure a uniform response to modern slavery concerns, and is particularly aimed at community healthcare workers and paramedics. 

The outcomes are being circulated across the NHS and address situations of suspected exploitation, as well as those of immediate threat or harm to the healthcare worker, patient, or others present.

Julie Currie, Victim Navigator Programme Coordinator at Justice and Care, has taken part in roundtable discussions over the last 18 months to advise on the project.

Expertise was also shared by individuals from the Metropolitan Police, the Helen Bamber Foundation, Unseen, Survivor Alliance and the University of Nottingham.

The group discussed the importance of trauma-informed responses and spaces and collaborative working across industries in creating an effective public healthcare approach to exploitation. 

They used scenarios to highlight best practice and had further meetings with those with lived experience to further enhance the findings, which have now been taken up by NHS England and NHS Wales.

Julie said: ‘Healthcare workers are often the first people in authority a potential victim of modern slavery may come into contact with.  

‘It is essential they are given the knowledge and confidence to not only spot the signs of slavery, but to also have a referral system in place that protects and supports.’

It comes after Justice and Care produced a detailed guidance manual for all professionals involved in human trafficking prosecutions in the UK.

Modern slavery victims are often hidden in plain sight – learn how to spot the signs here.