Call on your MP to back the Victim Support Bill - FreedomUnited.org
Campaign Update:

March 14, 2019: We took your names to the Prime Minister’s office! Over 64,000 actions have been collectively taken demanding better support for victims of modern slavery in the UK. Thanks to your support, survivors were able to join us in London to represent themselves and make their voices heard. Let’s keep going to see the government act!

Guarantee support for all UK slavery victims

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Maya’s story highlights how important it is for victims to receive specialist long-term support and access to other services to overcome their traumatic experiences and rebuild their lives.

The law in England and Wales does not guarantee this. It offers an initial 45 days reflection and recovery period to those the government believes may be victims, whilst in Northern Ireland, and Scotland where this period is being extended to 90 days, legislation guarantees victims will be provided with support.

Lord McColl’s Modern Slavery (Victim Support) Bill would ensure that victims like Maya will receive a support worker and a care plan for 12 months immediately following their formal recognition as a victim to help them make that journey to survivor and a life that is free for good.

Although the UK government has pledged its commitment to ending modern slavery, if this Bill doesn’t receive the attention it deserves, it risks failing to successfully move through the parliamentary process. That’s why we’re joining forces with the ‘Free For Good’ coalition of UK organizations.

Maya’s* story in her own words:

“I am fortunate enough to say that I am a survivor and no longer a victim of modern slavery, however from the age of 12 to 19 I was a slave to sex trafficking.

Through this crime, everything was taken from me: my control, my dignity, my future, my voice. I became hidden, from the years of 2005 to 2013 I was a statistic, a number within the figure of ‘potential victims of trafficking within the UK’.

Nobody should ever become a victim of trafficking, I should never have been trafficked for those many years undetected. I was not only a child but I was a child in a school. A child with a GP, a child with foster parents and social workers, all which failed throughout seven years to identify that I was being tricked, controlled, tortured and sold every day.

I spent years accepting that what my life had become couldn’t and wouldn’t ever change. It was impossible for me to speak out and nobody around me took any notice of the signs right in front of them.

However, I was extremely lucky to have been rescued four years ago, and all it took was one individual police officer not to dismiss the signs and to look further than what you see on the surface. I then spent the standard 45 days in a safe house. Although I am extremely grateful to have been in a safe house, 45 days isn’t enough time to establish the needs in each individual case, let alone recover from them.

Long-term support is crucial for any survivor’s recovery, without it you may as well not have been rescued at all. I spent the first two years of my recovery moving to four different places, all which claimed to support survivors of trafficking. Unfortunately, they did not have the knowledge and training so there was no recovery. Those two years were unbearable and as a result, my mental health and physical health suffered hugely.

In July 2015 I hit the jackpot! The Snowdrop Project. The first charity to provide adequate and trained long-term support. Having a support worker, counsellor and supportive community has changed my life drastically.

Being a victim of trafficking leaves its mark mentally and physically, four years on and I am still dealing with the effects of this crime but I have not had to do it alone.

Each survivor should be as lucky as I was to have long-term support. The effects and obstacles that you are faced with when rescued should never be faced alone.

It is also vitally important when working with vulnerable people who have been through such a high level of trauma that you have the right training or knowledge. From my own experiences, I found the places I lived that didn’t have it were more detrimental to my long-term recovery… Conversely, I have been able to grow in independence, confidence and strength with the ability to now make choices for the future I have back.

I count it an honour to use my experiences and my voice to speak out on behalf of those who don’t have a voice to help make the necessary changes to survivor care and the movement to eradicate Modern Slavery.”

*The name has been changed to protect the privacy of the individual survivor.

  • March 14, 2019: We took your names to the Prime Minister’s office! Over 64,000 actions have been collectively taken demanding better support for victims of modern slavery in the UK. Thanks to your support, survivors were able to join us in London to represent themselves and make their voices heard. Let’s keep going to see the government act!

  • March 2019: We’re taking your signatures to the Prime Minister’s Office! We want survivors to join us on the day, chip in here to help get them to London.

  • November 23, 2018: The UK parliament’s lower house was due to read the Modern Slavery (Victim Support) Bill, which would ensure slavery victims in the UK receive guaranteed support. We’re disappointed the debate has been postponed until January 25, 2019. Click here to listen to Lord McColl explain why the Bill is so important.

  • 29 March 2018: The Bill passed the Committee stage in the House of Lords with no amendments. This is a positive step forward and means that the Bill should progress quickly through Parliament. Click here to read more.

Jan 22, 2018 Campaign Launches

Chip in and help end modern slavery once and for all.

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I want those involved in exploiting vulnerable people to suffer working in a slave existence, to be exposed and punished for doing so.

Email or tweet your MP: back the Victim Support Bill!

Step 1: Find your MP’s Twitter handle and email address by typing in your postcode here.

Step 2: Copy and paste the messages below to tweet and email your MP.

Step 3: Don’t forget to let us know you took action below!

 

Twitter message:

[insert MP twitter handle @] Over 60,000 actions have been taken calling for better support for victims of modern slavery in the UK. Will you attend tomorrow’s Westminster Hall debate and speak up to demand more for survivors?

 

Email message:

Dear [insert name] MP,

I am a concerned constituent calling on you to speak in support of the Modern Slavery (Victim Support) Bill tomorrow as part of the Westminster Hall debate on modern slavery and victim support. On March 14, tens of thousands of signatures were handed in to the Home Office and Prime Minister’s office demanding better care for victims.  Victims of modern slavery deserve a real chance to recover and rebuild their lives but at the moment the government guarantees just 45 days of support for potential victims whilst their cases are reviewed by the Home Office and a further 45 days after that decision is made for those confirmed as victims. Survivors themselves have said that with such little support they might as well have never been rescued at all.

The Victim Support Bill would guarantee that victims of slavery in England and Wales would receive comprehensive support for at least 12 months after they are granted victim status, giving them a real chance at recovery and reducing the risk of victims falling into destitution or being retrafficked.

I urge you to speak out in support of the Bill to show you stand in solidarity with victims of modern slavery in the UK and to make victim care a priority for the government.

Yours sincerely,

[Insert name]

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