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Identifying victims of trafficking in immigration detention – National Referral Mechanism decision making between 2017-2022

January 2022

Data received from a Freedom of Information request made by FLEX on behalf of the Labour Exploitation Advisory Group (LEAG) to the Home Office shows that between 2017 and 2021 victims of modern slavery have been identified at increasing rates from within immigration detention. This briefing summarises the policy and wider context regarding decision-making for victims of modern slavery who have been detained. It finds that the data is clear that government decision makers agree with the vast majority of trafficking referrals from immigration detention. This is in contrast with claims made in the New Plan for Immigration and the framing of the Nationality and Borders Bill of ‘false trafficking claims’ and abuse of the modern slavery system. It suggests instead that focus needs to be on ensuring that victims are not detained but should be supported to early identification and to access entitlements to rebuild their lives.