Written evidence from Anti Trafficking and Labour Exploitation Unit (ATLEU)

 

 

About ATLEU

 

ATLEU secures safety and justice for survivors of trafficking and modern slavery through using and reforming the law. ATLEU seeks to clarify the law and improve protections for all victims in of trafficking through a combination of legal casework, policy work and capacity building activities including delivering specialist legal capability training, second-tier advice and legal resources.

 

ATLEU is the only UK charity providing dedicated and holistic legal advice to survivors of trafficking. Our specialist multi-disciplinary legal team assists victims to resolve multiple and complex problems, providing advice and representation to help them escape, recover and rebuild: securing safe and appropriate housing, regularising immigration status, obtaining trafficking identification, subsistence and support, and recovering compensation. We assist over 200 victims a year with over 300 legal matters, nationally and operate from offices based in London and Sheffield. We provide specialist legal advice to over 400 professionals  advising and supporting victims of trafficking in England and Wales annually.

 

ATLEU holds legal aid contracts in the following categories of law:

 

 

We also conduct Trafficking Compensation Claims, under ‘Miscellaneous Matter Starts’ which have been granted for this purpose, in the absence of a legal aid contract for this area of law.

 

ATLEU are submitting evidence in response to this call due to ongoing concerns that the legal aid scheme as currently operated is not fit for purpose for victims of trafficking and modern slavery.

 

1        Introduction

 

Trafficking is a complex and emerging area of law. There is an absence of domestic legislation and this contributes to a lack of clarity around the UK systems which exist to protect and support victims of trafficking and modern slavery. The NRM (National Referral Mechanism) is the framework for identifying and supporting victims of human trafficking. It sits outside the other statutory frameworks for protecting and supporting vulnerable people, with the state’s legal obligations primarily implemented through policy and guidance, much of which is fairly new and subject to frequent change.

 

Legal advice is an essential part of the support needed by victims of modern slavery to escape, recover and rebuild their lives. Survivors need advice and assistance to navigate and engage with the complex systems through which they are identified, access accommodation and support, regularise their immigration status and recover compensation.

 

There are a series of decisions made about victims of trafficking, all of which have a bearing on whether they are able to escape permanently from situations of trafficking and exploitation. There are decisions taken by the police, local authorities and other first responders, referring potential victims of trafficking for protection to the Single Competent Authority. There are the decisions by the Single Competent Authority relating to a victim’s identification, support and leave to remain, and decisions on housing, subsistence and care, taken by local authorities. There are almost no formal appeal or review mechanisms in place within the systems which identify and support survivors of trafficking. With the exception of those making homelessness applications, for which there is a statutory review and appeals process, most other decisions affecting survivors of trafficking lack due process. Judicial review is usually the only independent process available for resolving an error or unlawful decision. At the same time these decisions have profound consequences on both the individual survivor’s future prospects and on the ability of the state to effectively combat the crimes of slavery and trafficking.

 

Access to legal advice is therefore paramount when upholding victims’ fundamental rights. But when victims are not believed, not identified and unable to access essential support they are also less likely to come forward and cooperate with the authorities. This means traffickers are not held to account, they are not prosecuted by the police and they are not subject to criminal proceedings; they are left free to abuse, exploit and enslave others.

 

2                                   How LASPO has impacted access to justice

 

Victims of trafficking and modern slavery are now significantly less able to access legal advice when they need it than before LASPO came into force. Prior to LASPO victims and potential victims of trafficking were able to access advice on compensation, immigration and asylum and public law with comparative ease. This is no longer the case.

 

Pre-NRM immigration advice (ie. advice before being referred into the NRM and receiving a Reasonable Grounds decision), advice on trafficking identification and advice on recovering compensation from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) are not currently within scope for legal aid. Advice on a Trafficking Compensation Claims (ie. a claim against the trafficker in either the employment tribunal or High Court) is technically in scope (although there is no legal aid contract for it) but provision is in such short supply poor that in practice very few of those identified as victims of trafficking ever receive advice on compensation. There is also very limited availability of immigration and public law advice for victims of trafficking, particularly outside of London.

 

3                                   Lack of access to legal advice

 

ATLEU’s research, undertaken in the course of responding to the LASPO PIR[1], found many survivors struggled to access advice, and experienced waiting times for a first appointment with a lawyer of up to 12 months in parts of England. ATLEU continue to see victims who have not had access to any legal advice for the duration of their time in the NRM, despite most victims being in the NRM for at least 2 years.

 

Findings from a recent survey carried out by YLAL in 2020, showed that 70% of respondents found it was impossible/ extremely difficult/ difficult to find legal aid representation for victims of trafficking[2].

 

The Government does not collect comprehensive data on the numbers of victims of trafficking accessing legal aid. However, two Parliamentary Questions suggest the numbers to be very low[3]. In answer to Stephen Timms MP, on 1 December 2017, Dominic Raab, then the Minister of State, Ministry of Justice, revealed that over the previous 3 years the government was able to identify just 124 victims of trafficking who had received legal aid for either non-asylum immigration advice or advice on a trafficking compensation claims, as these were the 2 types of advice the Legal Aid Agency held data on.

 

On 16 May 2018, in answer to Anne Marie Morris MP, Lucy Frazer, then the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice, admitted that, whilst the LAA did not collect data on the number of potential victims receiving legal aid, just 28 had applied for legal representation in respect of litigation in a trafficking compensation claim over a period of 3 years.

 

During that same 3 year period, from 2014, over 9000 victims were referred into the NRM[4]. This shows that just 1.3% of those referred into the NRM received advice on either of these 2 areas of law. This strongly suggests that most trafficked European nationals did not receive immigration advice and over 99% of victims did not receive advice on compensation. This is despite a clear entitlement to free legal advice under both LASPO and the Council of Europe Convention on Action Against Trafficking in Human Beings.

 

ATLEU has identified the following three reasons for the paucity of legal advice for victims of trafficking. Firstly, there is a lack of clarity around which legal issues victims of trafficking are entitled to free legal advice on. Secondly, immigration trafficking cases are not financially viable for providers to do at all, or in any volume, requiring them to cash-flow cases for years and carry significant financial risk.  Thirdly, the removal of employment law from scope for legal aid in 2013, combined with the failure to introduce a contract for trafficking compensation claims, saw the vast majority of legal aid providers cease to undertake cases within the relevant area of practice. The lack of guidance and training and culture of refusal now in operation within this department within the LAA continues to be a powerful deterrent to practitioners.

 

(i)                               Lack of clarity on victims’ entitlement to legal aid

 

The volume of queries ATLEU receives annually to its advice line about access to legal aid, reveals considerable confusion about what is and is not in scope under legal aid for victims of trafficking, with many legal aid providers refusing to open cases on an incorrect basis. The system is overly complex and bureaucratic and does not make victims of trafficking entitlement to legal aid clear or straightforward.

 

Without clear and comprehensive communication about what the LAA considers to be in or out of scope, providers are reluctant to carry the risk of opening a legal help/CLR file on which they may not be paid, either because they are unsure whether it is in scope or because of a change in LAA practice.

 

Such a change is illustrated by the case LL v Lord Chancellor: Following the introduction of LASPO, it was generally understood that immigration trafficking cases were in scope where the client had a positive Reasonable Grounds decision. However, in the course of acting for LL, we applied for a funding extension to the disbursement limit on a legal help immigration file. The extra funds requested were to assist LL’s case, both to get her discretionary leave to remain as a victim of trafficking and to be identified as a victim (a necessary precursor to the grant of leave). The LAA refused the funding extension, stating  that it considered this type of work had never been in scope of LASPO at all, even to help a victim obtain discretionary leave. Their position was that victims were ‘automatically considered’ for discretionary leave to remain by the Home Office so there was no formal immigration application requiring legal assistance. This decision came 4 years after LASPO had been in force. It was a u-turn with significant implications for both survivors of trafficking and their advisers. For a period of a year, survivors were left in limbo with their cases on hold. Providers were similarly in limbo unsure whether they would be paid for work they had previously understood to be in scope. During this time the LAA were asked to publish a clarification on their position so providers were clear on what work they could and couldn’t undertake. This request was refused, causing further confusion still. The case of LL was eventually conceded by the Lord Chancellor. Terms of settlement included the LAA publishing a statement regarding the availability of legal aid for trafficking cases[5].

 

Despite the resolution of the case and the statement assisting with clarification, this conduct did little to engender trust in the LAA with legal aid providers. Following LASPO and the case of LL, the LAA has not at any point actively promoted the availability of legal aid for victims of trafficking. The statement arising from the case of LL remains hard for providers to locate. A significant effort by the LAA to better communicate trafficking survivors’ entitlement to legal aid  would be welcome.

 

In addition, the issues of trafficking and modern slavery would benefit from a more joined up approach within government. At the same time the case of LL was being defended by the Lord Chancellor, the Modern Slavery Unit (MSU), which sits within the Home Office, were trying to address the lack of available legal advice for victims of trafficking and modern slavery in the NRM. The MSU went as far as issuing an Expression of Interest for accredited immigration advisers who could provide free advice to victims of trafficking.

 

The availability of legal aid for Trafficking Compensation Claims is also an area that would benefit from clearer communication from the LAA. Despite this area of advice technically being available under legal aid since 2013, it is still not possible to locate a legal aid provider to take on this type of case on the legal aid search engine as trafficking compensation claims are not one of the available options. As a starting point we would strongly recommend the inclusion of trafficking compensation claims as an advice category.

 

(ii)                             Immigration trafficking cases are financially unviable

 

There are significant concerns regarding the financial viability of taking ‘trafficking cases’ on. Advice on identification as a victim of trafficking can only be provided under legal aid where it relates to a potential application for leave to remain. This means all “trafficking cases” must be done under an immigration contract, and by an accredited adviser. The reality of the structure of the legal aid payment system means legal aid providers are required to work on immigration trafficking cases frequently for as long as 3 years without receiving any payment. During this time the legal aid provider must cover all of the costs involved in providing the advice including, the cost of the lawyer’s salary and all the associated costs of running a legal practice such as a desk for the lawyer, as well as their management, supervision, training and immigration accreditation. Few legal aid providers can afford to do any of these cases, let alone many. This payment structure results in very few providers developing trafficking expertise.

 

As victims of trafficking are only able to access advice on their trafficking identification case from legal aid providers that hold an immigration legal aid contract, when they are unable to access immigration advice they are denied assistance with making their trafficking identification case as well as regularising their immigration status. Without this advice many victims are unable to put forward relevant information and evidence that the Home Office require in order to make a positive Conclusive Grounds decision. The consequence for victims is severe, with many facing a return to exploitation and destitution as a result.

 

The payment structure for immigration trafficking cases also has the consequence of many providers delivering poor quality advice. In an attempt to work to a fixed fee providers will often fail to run important trafficking arguments, fail to spend the time explaining a victim’s case properly and avoid incurring disbursement costs to obtain the necessary supporting evidence or taking the time necessary to present it. This results in poor outcomes for victims and an ongoing need for legal advice as victims are given negative decisions, are disbelieved and wait long periods, sometimes in destitution, struggling to find advice on making a new claim. Others will also seek advice from a public lawyer to bring a judicial review against the negative trafficking decision. ATLEU receives regular advice enquiries and referrals where victims have had previous immigration advice under legal aid and where little of substance has been done to explain or evidence their trafficking case. This results in another legal aid provider picking up what has inevitably become a more complex case, due to the negative decision, and requiring a significant amount of additional advice time and expert evidence. It is far from cost effective and leaves victims of trafficking in a precarious and dependant state, postponing their recovery for years.

 

The financial challenges created by the legal aid payment structure is significantly worse in trafficking immigration cases than most other types of immigration case for the following reasons:

 

 

 

 

Not only is the legal aid provider required to undertake work without payment for several years, they must also take a significant financial risk, that in 2 to 3 years’ time the Legal Aid Agency will agree not only with their interpretation of the relevant law and guidance on what is in scope as well as their assessment of a client’s eligibility. Such a high level of risk is intolerable for most businesses, at least at any volume. Therefore to address the lack of provision the legal aid payment structure needs to be changed for immigration trafficking cases, by:

 

 

These simple changes could be delivered through existing legal aid mechanisms and would not require additional funding.

 

(iii)                           No contract for Trafficking Compensation Cases

 

There is currently no single law which enables a victim of trafficking to get compensation from their trafficker for being trafficked. To recover compensation victims have to patch together several different claims which encompass the many wrongs done to them. This can make bringing claims against their traffickers complicated and is why a civil remedy for modern slavery has been called for. However, the situation is worsened immeasurably for survivors by the lack of genuine access to legal aid for this type of case, and allows traffickers to continue to act with impunity.

 

Despite their considerable complexity, compensation claims on legal help files fall in the ‘miscellaneous’ category. This attracts the lowest rate of remuneration, a fixed fee of just £79 in comparison to a fixed fee of £157 in housing or £259 in public law. Within the miscellaneous regime personal injury and employment matters attracts a higher fee £203 and £207 respectively, however, even where the trafficking compensation claim involves personal injury or employment work the lower fixed fee is applied. The hourly rate paid is also lower than in other categories of law.  Low rates of pay mean there is little business case for a provider to undertake trafficking compensation claims.

 

The lack of a specific contract for providers to undertake trafficking compensation claims also makes the work less desirable. Without a legal aid search engine listing providers undertaking this type of work, not only can victims not get the help they need but providers have to invest resource in developing alternative channels to find potential clients with this type of case.

             

4                                   Legal aid is too narrow for victims of trafficking

 

LASPO too narrowly defines what is in scope for victims of trafficking. The most notable obstacles are the lack of legal aid for: immigration advice pre-NRM; immigration advice following negative Reasonable Grounds or Conclusive Grounds decision; and cases against the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA).

 

The UK’s system is an adversarial one. The playing field isn’t level and this is particularly true for survivors of trafficking and modern slavery who frequently have many vulnerabilities. Despite this, the burden is on the victim to evidence their case.  However, without initial advice many survivors are too fearful to enter the NRM, too scared to disclose important information about their trafficking or able to present evidence necessary for the state to make a positive identification decision.

 

(i)                 Pre-NRM Immigration Advice

 

Advice before entering the NRM is not within the scope of legal aid, in spite of trafficking identification decisions having a direct effect on immigration decisions.  A lack of advice at the pre-NRM stage often leaves victims unwilling to enter the NRM if they are not clear about its impact on their immigration status “…fear of detention and removal if they identify themselves to the authorities are powerful incentives for trafficked and enslaved persons to stay hidden.”  Many support organisations find it impossible to fund interpreters and victims’ accounts given without access to interpreters will necessarily be incomplete or perhaps erroneous. There has been some recognition of the importance of early legal advice by the Government. The Home Office are intending to introduce places of safety for adult victims leaving immediate situations of exploitation so that they can be given assistance and advice for up to 3 days before deciding on whether to enter the NRM. For those in Places of Safety legal aid should be available for pre-NRM advice so that victims can make a fully informed decision before entering the NRM. This should enable victims to receive a minimum of 5 hours’ advice.

 

(ii)               Advice on Identification

 

The identification of a victim of trafficking will rely heavily on the account given by the victim themselves.  For good decisions to be made it is vital that victims are given support to provide the Single Competent Authority with the most complete picture possible. Victims of trafficking and modern slavery cannot be expected to provide adequate evidence without legal advice and support. Many victims do not speak English, and thus require interpreters; many are traumatised and have difficulty disclosing until they are in a safe, therapeutic environment; and many will simply struggle to put forward a coherent account of their experiences orally or in writing. Moreover, victims require a lawyer to engage with complex legal frameworks to demonstrate how their circumstances fulfil the necessary criteria for identification. At present it is not clear that legal assistance to victims to provide evidence to the Single Competent Authority is within the scope of legal aid. Legal assistance at this stage is not within scope for legal aid unless a lawyer can successfully argue that the evidence being obtained is an integral part of an immigration application that is within the scope of legal aid.  This necessarily excludes all British nationals. However, status as a victim of trafficking is of benefit to both British and non-British nationals: it can assist in demonstrating vulnerability and assist in obtaining housing and support and help an individual to recover compensation.

 

(iii)            CICA cases

 

For many victims of trafficking and modern slavery an application to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) is the only route to obtain compensation. Typically, these victims are unable to identify their trafficker, or their trafficker will have no significant assets. Often they are simply too vulnerable to face their trafficker in court or contemplate further legal proceedings. There is currently no legal aid available for victims of trafficking wishing to submit an application to CICA or appeal a refusal. Legal aid for CICA applications for survivors is expressly excluded by Schedule 1 part 2 paragraph 16 of the Legal Aid Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012.

 

The Exceptional Case Funding (ECF) regime is in place to provide legal aid to those who would otherwise suffer a breach of a Convention or EU right. However, the LAA does not accept that an application to CICA involves the determination of Convention, or EU rights and so routinely refuse applications, asserting that the right to a fair trial as enshrined by Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights is not engaged. In fact, the Court of Appeal has confirmed that an application to CICA will engage Article 6.

 

Without legal aid, if the survivor does not speak English, the cost of an interpreter will not be covered. The same holds true for costs related to subject access requests or specialist medical legal reports. The results of ATLEU’s recent survey demonstrate that 93% of applications made to the LAA for ECF to prepare and submit an application to CICA were refused. This means the vast majority of victims of trafficking cannot access legal aid for a CICA cases.

 

The barriers to accessing the CICA scheme combined with the lack of access to advice means most survivors are either unable to apply to the scheme or are refused compensation in circumstances where it ought to be granted.

 

5                                   The Means Test leaves survivors of trafficking trapped

 

Survivors of trafficking and modern slavery are entitled to free legal advice, under Article 12 of the Council of Europe Convention for Action Against Trafficking In Human Beings and this is meant to be given effect through the legal aid regime. However, victims of trafficking and modern slavery do not have an automatic entitlement to legal aid when they are being supported under the NRM as they are not ‘passported’, like other groups in receipt of certain mainstream benefits. In practice a significant number of victims of trafficking and modern slavery cannot access legal advice when they need it. The civil legal aid means test is set at a level that leads to some survivors of trafficking being ineligible for legal aid. The consequences of this are severe: survivors are left trapped in exploitative situations, in sex work and in abusive relationships, because they are unable to access advice.

 

This is illustrated by the following case study: In February 2015, our client was picked up in a police raid and referred into the NRM, and identified by the state as a potential victim of trafficking. She was supporting elderly frail parents and a severely disabled sibling, all of whom required care. She had significant debts and saw no alternative but to keep earning through sex work. This meant she was not eligible for legal aid and was unable to get any legal assistance to explain her trafficking case. She received a negative Conclusive Grounds trafficking decision. With assistance from NGOs she tried to seek a reconsideration of the decision. Over 17 months all of these requests were ignored. Her only remedy was judicial review, but she was not eligible for legal aid as her earnings took her over the means threshold. Despite the offer of pro bono assistance she was too scared to proceed to judicial review due to the risk of litigation costs, so she remained in sex work. She couldn’t be persuaded to leave as she had no other way to support her family. Her mental health declined, she attempted suicide twice in 2018, and was eventually admitted to hospital for psychiatric treatment, which is when she stopped working. She finally became eligible for legal aid, three and a half years after being referred into the NRM. Only then did she receive the legal assistance she needed, which eventually led to her receiving a positive Conclusive Grounds decision, accessing NRM support and leaving behind a life in sexual exploitation.

 

Victims of trafficking and modern slavery who are in the NRM should be passported for legal aid.

 

6        Recruitment and retention problems among legal aid professionals

 

ATLEU’s experience is that recruitment and retention of legal aid professionals is extremely difficult, particularly that of legal aid category supervisors. Given the low level of remuneration for the legal aid provider, with rates that don’t reflect the level of experience of the adviser, it is extremely challenging to increase salaries to a level to develop and retain staff. For a provider such as ATLEU, which is committed to ensuring the availability of early advice for survivors of trafficking there is an organisational focus on controlled work, where the rates of pay are the lowest and the payment structure both requires the provider to cash-flow cases for their duration and carries with it a significant financial risk. This profile of work doesn’t enable the organisation to pay salaries commensurate with the level of experience of the staff involved. This is borne out by recent rounds of recruitment. For a junior paralegal role we had in excess of 100 applicants. In contrast, for a supervisor role we received just 3 applications.

 

Continually struggling with the LAA to obtain legal aid for clients is a significant deterrent for advisers continuing this work in the long-term and can be a significant contributory factor to burn-out. Experienced lawyers are increasingly worn down by a daily grind of an over- bureaucratic legal aid system which leaves individuals having their efforts to assist highly vulnerable people in desperate need of assistance undermined by a system which can feel like it is working against them. Victims of trafficking who have been shut out of legal aid, sometimes for several years in trafficking compensation claims, call the office in states of significant distress not understanding why their attempts to recover compensation for gross abuses (such as the loss of a limb at the hands of their trafficker) and recover unpaid wages having been paid little or nothing for years, are frustrated by the LAA.

7        The impact of Covid-19 on legal aid services and clients

 

The pandemic is amplifying some of the major drivers of modern slavery, such as poverty and financial crisis, whilst also reducing access to safe and reliable employment. Those in low paid and insecure work are more vulnerable to exploitation as they feel great pressure to accept unsafe conditions and abuse. Fear of losing work is a strong deterrent to vulnerable workers reporting abuse and poor employment conditions. Migrant workers without recourse to public funds lack any safety net and undocumented workers fear reprisals from their employers if they report exploitation. Many organisations fail to identify victims of trafficking (including lawyers) and, as victims will usually not self-identify, this means they are being missed. Advisers and NGOs also find victims of trafficking challenging to advise as they require advice on several intersecting areas of law: employment, immigration, trafficking identification and housing and support. This year ATLEU have seen over a 30% increase in demand for our second-tier advice service which provides specialist advice to lawyers and support workers assisting victims of trafficking. We have also seen an increase in demand with more referral request being received. There has been an increase of approximately 25% in immigration (the level of demand already significantly outstrips ATLEU’s capacity) and about 50% for compensation advice.

 

ATLEU’s experience is that for many victims of trafficking and modern slavery it is not possible or safe to provide legal advice remotely. Significant numbers of victims of trafficking do not have access to confidential space, digital devices or the data or wi-fi that they require in order share information with their lawyer or for their lawyer to provide advice that they are sure that they understand. Some victims find the prospect of talking about their trafficking experiences in a remote setting too distressing and with insufficient support available to them afterwards, they may present a serious safeguarding concern. Similarly, many are unable to meet remotely with a medical expert in order for a medico-legal report to be prepared. This means that many victims with cases at an early stage cannot progress at this time. Those with more established cases still require continuity from their legal representative and tend to be anxious about the outcome of their case. Whilst technology has facilitated many changes in how we work, there is no substitute for face to face advice.

 

8        What the challenges are for legal aid over the next decade, what reforms are needed and what can be learnt from elsewhere.

             

The legal aid system is in desperate need of simplification. It is grossly bureaucratic and unnecessarily complicated. Significant capacity of legal aid providers is spent on the administration of  legal aid. ATLEU estimates that up to a third of the capacity of the compensation lawyers has been lost since LASPO came into force. That time, previously spent advising survivors of trafficking on compensation options and recovering remedies for them, is now taken up with seeking and maintaining legal aid and satellite litigation relating to these issues.

 

In the face of the pandemic there has been the very welcome development of greater flexibility on the part of the LAA. The ability to submit bills electronically and adopting a greater use of email are positive improvements. Whilst welcome, they do not address the more fundamental issues with the way the scheme is operated.

 

Recommendations

 

(i)                                                                                             Reduce the risk carried by legal aid providers by an LAA assessment of means taking place at the start of a case.

Legal aid providers carry too much risk on legal aid files. Most trafficking cases should be escape fee cases. To reduce the risk the provider currently bears an electronic means assessment process should be provided at the start of the case (within 2 weeks of opening a file). If the provider could send off key documents for assessment by the LAA at this stage (rather than waiting until an escape fee assessment 3 years later) it would help them to mitigate significant risk.

 

(ii)               Paying providers on an hourly rates basis, for the number of hours of advice provided and introducing payments on account for controlled work files for victims of trafficking

A payment on account mechanism enabling providers to recover their advice costs on a 6 monthly basis would assist with managing the cash-flow of undertaking this profile of work. It would help to make income more predictable and make it easier to take on new staff.

 

(iii)                                   Judicial review cases for survivors of trafficking should not be undertaken as the provider’s risk

In the absence of any formal appeal or independent review process on trafficking identification, leave or support decisions judicial review is on the only remedy available. Many providers will not undertake this work due to the risks involved. This further reduces the availability of legal advice for this group.

 

(iv)                                    Expand the scope of legal aid for survivors of trafficking and modern slavery

Legal aid should be available for pre-NRM immigration advice, advice on identification (including following a negative reasonable or conclusive grounds decision) and advice on the CICA scheme.

 

(v)                                      Introduce a contract for Trafficking Compensation Claims

Introduce a specific contract for this area of work as well as guidance and training for LAA decision makers. 

 

(vi)                                    Collect information on the number of victims of trafficking accessing legal aid

This could be achieved with a code that is submitted at the end of every case indicating whether the individual has been referred into the NRM

 

(vii)                                  Victims of trafficking and modern slavery should be passported for legal aid

All victims of trafficking and modern should be automatically eligible for legal aid when they are in the NRM system. This would help to reduce the administrative burden on providers and encourage more cases for survivors to be picked up.

November 2020

 


[1] https://drive.google.com/file/d/1SrVQg7nXOtnZXCUjuSzgVoj5bfXHn_tg/view

[2] http://www.younglegalaidlawyers.org/sites/default/files/200621%20YLAL%20trafficking%20report.pdf

[3] https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2017-11-21/114965/ and https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2018-05-09/142455/

[4] https://drive.google.com/file/d/1SrVQg7nXOtnZXCUjuSzgVoj5bfXHn_tg/view pages 2-3

[5]https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/716499/Clarification_of_immigration_funding_in_trafficking_cases.pdf