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    British Businesses Must Do More to Stamp Out Modern Slavery in Supply Chains

    'We Can't Fail Victims': UK Gov't Must Extend Help to Slavery Survivors

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    A new report by the UK's Human Trafficking Foundation has exposed a gap in the very system set up by the British government to help victims of modern slavery.

    "It takes huge bravery to come forward and reveal your ordeal as a victim, so it's a huge betrayal of trust to just be abandoned after 45 days," Kate Roberts, head of office at the UK's Human Trafficking Foundation told Sputnik.

    The British government spends US$4.95 million a year providing shelter and safety to victims of slavery during a "recovery and reflection" period in which the Home Office decides whether that person has been trafficked or not. However, all support and help comes to an end after 45 days.

    A report, titled "Day 46: Is there life after the Safe House for Survivors of Modern Slavery?" is calling for the government to support victims for longer and not abandon them after just 45 days, which leaves them open to more exploitation — or at worse, disappearing altogether.

    ​"Victims need to be treated as individuals, not case numbers. To be abandoned after just 45 days equates to being betrayed again, often with horrific consequences," Ms. Roberts told Sputnik. 

    In 2015, 3,266 people were identified in the UK as being potentially trafficked, however there is no reliable information as to what exactly happens to victims after the statutory 45 days recovery and reflection period comes to an end — they seemingly just disappear.

    The report, published by the Human Trafficking Foundation suggests that the government needs to focus on the plight of the victims, not just punishing the perpetrators, after discovering that a quarter of all trafficking victims had gone missing after being rescued.

    Out of 73 cases known to the foundation, 18 people remain totally unaccounted for after they left a shelter.

    "If we're really going to beat modern slavery and stop the revolving door turning for trafficked victims then we need to have a more holistic and individual approach to helping victims,Ms. Roberts told Sputnik.

    Roberts explains that many victims of slavery may have several cases running consecutively that they need help with. Including a criminal case, a civil case, an employment tribunal or a pending immigration issue, "and they need a case worker to help coordinate it all."

    "Individuals need continued care to stop them from falling through the gaps; survivors need a chance to rebuild their lives."

    The care provided to victims of modern slavery includes, shelter, counseling and immigration advice, yet this care essentially cut off after just over a month, which means victims of human trafficking can disappear beneath the authorities' radar leaving them open to more exploitation.

    "It's often really hard to find out what's happening with people when care is just cut off, we found information on at least 30 people who worryingly we couldn't contact anymore," Ms. Roberts said.

    "I was alarmed when I received a call about a woman who had gone to a homeless shelter after the Home Office had concluded she had been trafficked for sexual exploitation and therefore, had positive grounds for leave to remain [ILR], yet had to stay with a man she didn't know, just so she had somewhere to live.  

    "To be in a country you don't know and cooperate fully with the authorities and recognized by the government that you have been exploited, then you shouldn't be forced to beg a stranger for accommodation in this way.

    "We can't fail victims like this," Ms. Roberts added.

    Anthony Steen, chair of the Human Trafficking Foundation said, "The Prime Minister's recent pledge to put Britain at the forefront of defeating this evil is an important step forward. What is now lacking is a focus on the plight of victims. This report is a snapshot, highlighting how quickly survivors disappear once they are found!"


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    sexual exploitation, Human Trafficking, exploitation, modern slavery, human trafficking, slavery, Theresa May, United Kingdom, London
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