Written evidence submitted by Human Trafficking Foundation (COR009)

About the Human Trafficking Foundation

  1. The Human Trafficking Foundation (HTF) was established by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery. HTF co-chairs the Home Office Modern Slavery Unit’s Victim Care policy implementation group made up of expert stakeholders and chairs various anti-trafficking networks nationwide, which involve cross-sector statutory and non-statutory organisations delivering frontline support to people who have experienced modern slavery.


How the Home Office and its major contractors are working together to ensure the safe and effective operation of contracted services is maintained, particularly where these services affect vulnerable people;

Broader Context


  1. Known Existing Challenges to Victims of Trafficking seeking support through contracted services include:



Evidence from Stakeholders


  1. The Human Trafficking Foundation has learned of the following challenges based on correspondence with stakeholders since restrictions were enacted to reduce the spread of Covid-19:



Speculative concerns


  1. Based on knowledge of the general operation of support provision for victims of modern slavery, the Foundation has the following concerns around the risks posed to victims and survivors:



Recommendations include:


  1. Specific covid-19 related guidance and plans around victim support covering all parts of the victim journey through the NRM and post NRM. Also we need a plan for when support workers are ill – something that is currently not in place, but may become an acute problem over the next few weeks.


  1. To protect vulnerable victims of trafficking being supported via the victim care contract (in outreach or safe house provision) it has been suggested that interim guidance for the SSHD to remain responsible for accommodating the victim instead of that responsibility transferring to the local authority.  Those in NASS should remain in NASS and those in safe housing should remain in safe housing. In practice, this would prevent victims who receive a conclusive grounds decision from needing to leave their current accommodation and reduce exposure to any new carriers of Covid-19 or as potential carriers prevent exposing others to risk.


  1. Emergency recruitment of temporary qualified social workers to provide crisis support to victims as has been seen in the NHS and police


  1. Hotels are likely to be empty across the country. The Home Office should work with hotels to provide emergency accommodation to victims who are not able to be safely housed in safe houses or are in unsafe NASS/council organised accommodation.
  2. Residence and reporting requirements for those on immigration bail should not be enforced during the pandemic - and any reporting dates be deferred until the pandemic has ceased.


  1. Those not seen as high risk should be freed from detention until safe to return.


  1. The Single Competent Authority should suspend decisions in cases where a positive outcome cannot be made until the pandemic has lifted.


March 2020