Secure Stephen's recovery from trafficking -

Secure Stephen’s recovery from trafficking

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Credit: Every Child Protected Against Trafficking (ECPAT) UK

The UK authorities want to send Stephen*, a child victim of trafficking, back to Vietnam where he has no family. He was picked off the streets of Hanoi, an orphan aged just 10 years old.1

Stephen was arrested when he was found in a police raid looking after cannabis plants, aged 16, after years spent isolated and locked up in converted houses, mixing and applying dangerous chemicals, beaten and assaulted when his traffickers visited.

Despite being formally recognised as a trafficking victim by UK authorities, when he turned 17-and-a-half he lost his automatic right to stay in the country and had his application to remain refused. The decision letter has been vilified for suggesting Stephen had shown “considerable personal fortitude in relocating to the UK and attempting to establish a life here”.

Stephen spoke no English, except a few words, when he was rescued. It is only in the intervening years that he attended school, learnt to speak English fluently and has now started college.

We ask the UK Home Secretary to review this decision.

This case highlights the UK government’s failings in providing child victims with the support that they need.

Sadly, cases like Stephen’s are not uncommon. Whilst the UK does have a system for identifying and supporting victims, the National Referral Mechanism (NRM), it does not currently guarantee any specialist support or long-term leave to remain in the UK, which makes it very difficult for child victims to build a stable life and plan for their future.

Just as they’ve begun to recover from traumatic experiences of abuse, many are forced to return to countries where they have no family, few support structures and are likely to be further exploited.

Tell the Home Secretary that Stephen and victims like him should stay in the UK and be given the opportunity to fully recover.

Our partner ECPAT UK (Every Child Protected Against Trafficking) carried out a survey of frontline professionals, which found that 91% said it was important that the NRM provided a grant of leave that gave a durable solution for child victims of modern slavery with immigration concerns.2 That’s why we launched a campaign for child victims together in July last year.

Children identified as victims of trafficking are among the most vulnerable in our society and most in need of long-term protection. Removing young people like Stephen is unjust. We hope that his case will help secure much-needed reforms of the NRM for children so that Stephen and the thousands of others like him are allowed to rebuild their lives and plan for a better future.

*Name changed for his protection

  • September 2018: We are unable to obtain any further information on Stephen’s* situation due to an anonymity order around his case issued by the court. For this reason, we have decided to close his campaign – thank you to all 29,134 of you who supported Stephen!

  • April 11, 2018: Stephen’s case has been adjourned. Whilst it is disappointing that his safe future is yet to be secured, Stephen’s foster father said: “The adjournment is for his benefit and is about strengthening his case and responding to the documents filed late.”

  • 1 February 2018: We handed in your signatures today! By adding Freedom United’s voice, a total of 116,632 signatures were handed in to the UK Home Secretary calling on her to reverse her decision and let Stephen stay. We joined Stephen, his MP, Helen Goodman, 38 Degrees and ECPAT UK at the Home Office. Click here to see photos.

  • Jan 24, 2018: Campaign Launches

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Marcia Anne Donahue
Marcia Anne Donahue
6 years ago

If he gets sent back, considering that he has no one to go back to, he will be a ripe fruit for the picking of yet another trafficker – This vicious circle MUST end!!!

6 years ago

“In the evening of life we will be judged on love alone”. St John of the Cross

Verena Jones
6 years ago

It sounds very much like Stephen is on the road to being a great asset to the UK – it would be tragic to send him back to further exploitation.

6 years ago

Please let Stephen stay he has suffered immensely. To send him back to Vietnam what would become of him. I think the UK has a Duty of Care after he was abused in by evil trafficker’s there. Stephen needs to have a better quality of life now. He had least deserves that.

6 years ago

Why am I still surprised by the heartless cretins that form our government. Sadly the frequency of such grotesque lack of compassion shown by them is the norm.

This Campaign made an impact with 29,135 supporters!

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