BID has signed an open letter calling for the government to release data on the immigration outcomes of victims of trafficking, including detention and deportation. It comes after data obtained by research organisation After Exploitation through Freedom of Information requests revealed that, in 2018, 53% of potential victims of trafficking returning home 'voluntarily' had been detained. The figures raise serious concerns that detention - which has repeatedly been shown to be harmful and re-traumatising to victims of trafficking - is used to coerce people into returning to situations where they may be re-trafficked.
The open letter is displayed below.
Charities: Government must release data on victims of human trafficking and slavery
Human trafficking is recognised as a serious criminal offence, which often leaves survivors with a legacy of physical and emotional abuse. Yet, we now know that many rebuilding their lives after slavery must also live with the threat of deportation or detention by UK authorities.
Last year alone, 507 potential victims of human trafficking were held in prison-like settings. A number of victims were also deported against their will, despite a strong body of research outlining the risk of re-trafficking, social exclusion and gang reprisals facing victims after return.
We believe that a lack of data transparency has allowed trafficking victims slip through the net, and that accountability is needed to protect survivors.
For years, charities, journalists and MPs were led to believe that no such evidence of trafficking outcomes existed. However, we now know that highly-detailed and readily-available information on trafficking outcomes could be subject to the same scrutiny as existing statistics on asylum, deportation and detention.
As the Government releases its quarterly immigration statistics today, we ask that a serious commitment is made to disclosing what happens to those who have been exploited in the UK. By understanding how many trafficking and slavery victims secure protection, and the scale of detention and deportation amongst trafficking victims, we can begin to understand what changes are needed to improve processes intended to identify and support them.
African Rainbow Family,
Anti Slavery International
AVID (Association for Visitors in Detention)
BID (Bail for Immigration Detainees),
Gatwick Detainee Welfare Group,
Hope for Justice,
Lesbian Immigration Support Group,
Migrant Rights Network,
New Horizons in British Islam,
Race on the Agenda,
Right to Remain,
Scottish Detainee Visitors,
UK Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group,
Women for Refugee Women