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New Report and Launch of Taskforce on Victims of Trafficking in Immigration Detention Launches Today

July 29, 2019

Today sees the launch of new collaborative work to expose and address the immigration detention of victims of human trafficking. First, the launch of a new report by the Labour Exploitation Advisory Group exploring how victims of trafficking are being detained and why this is happening, with strong recommendations for government to change policies; and second, the launch of a new Taskforce on Victims of Trafficking in Immigration Detention, comprised of 11 expert organisations. 

New Report: ‘Detaining Victims: Human Trafficking and the UK Immigration Detention System’

The Labour Exploitation Advisory Group* has today published a new report which takes an in-depth look at the issues experienced by victims of trafficking while in immigration detention in the UK. The report is shaped by the experiences and research of Latin American Women’s Rights Service, Bail for Immigration Detainees, Ashiana Sheffield and Focus on Labour Exploitation. The report explores why victims are failing to be identified prior to, and within, immigration detention, and the impact of detention on their National Referral Mechanism outcomes and physical and mental wellbeing.

It finds evidence of 143 victims of human trafficking identified and/or supported by LEAG members who have experienced immigration detention and details a range of concerning case studies throughout.As its starting point, LEAG believes no victim of trafficking should ever be detained under immigration powers. Until that happens, it makes a range of strong and evidence-based recommendations to government which can be found in the executive summary of the report here.

Launched Today: New Expert Taskforce on Victims of Trafficking in Immigration Detention

Due to the evidence identfied through a range of organisations’ experience and a number of reports published to date, 11 expert organisations have today announced the formation of a new Taskforce on Victims of Trafficking in Immigration Detention.

The member organisations are:

  • Focus on Labour Exploitation (FLEX)
  • Bail for Immigration Detainees
  • Anti-Slavery International
  • Women for Refugee Women
  • Latin American Women’s Rights Service
  • Duncan Lewis Public Law
  • Medical Justice
  • Ashiana Sheffield
  • Association of Visitors to Immigration Detainees (AVID)
  • Helen Bamber Foundation
  • Jesuit Refugee Service UK

The Taskforce intends to work with government to seek an end to the detention of victims of human trafficking under immigration powers and will advocate for vital changes to government policy and practice regarding this issue. The Taskforce has launched with a Joint Statement outlining is concerns and views regarding this issue, which states:

“We believe the government has failed to adhere to its international obligations, and its own guidance with regard to victims of human trafficking… immigration detention should play no part in a progressive and fair immigration system. Until this is realised, the Home Office must immediately strengthen and implement its own guidance to ensure that no victim of human trafficking is ever detained.”

The full Joint Statement is available here.

*The Labour Exploitation Advisory Group is a group of experts from ten organisations working to prevent human trafficking for labour exploitation. LEAG is comprised of Focus on Labour Exploitation (which also provides its secretariat), Latin American Women’s Rights Service, East European Resource Centre, Unite the Union, Ashiana Sheffield, British Red Cross, Kalayaan, Bail for Immigration Detainees, Praxis Community Projects and Equality.