Secure Stephen's recovery from trafficking -

Secure Stephen’s recovery from trafficking


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 her 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

Campaign updates

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.

Leave a Reply

92 Comments on "Secure Stephen’s recovery from trafficking"

Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Shamsuddin M

UK home Secretary must revisit his decision to uphold UK’s SOFT corner on humanitarian issues.

Barbara Bergmann

Don’t act like the Trumpites. This is typical of the US these days.

Bob Carswell

Is the home secretary an idiot, or what? Any kid who has arrived in the UK as a child regardless of when or how and has learned English, is in school and heading to university, he has become more English than Vietnamese. Can’t the Home Secretary see that or realize that? It is just paperwork so do the right thing, it does not affect you in anyway but it will sure make a difference to the individual you are trying to deport.

Tatiana Giraud

Having to even sign this petition and ask you to make the right decision to let this BRITISH CHILD stay in the UK is shameful. LET STEPHEN STAY. THANK YOU


Stephen is the most motivated citizens you will ever meet in the UK because he literally realises he thanks his very survival to the UK. Please grand him the permission to stay. The UK will be the one to benefit the most of this grant…


Call on the Home Secretary to secure Stephen’s recovery from trafficking

2,947 actions to 30k
Read full text

Dear Rt. Hon. Amber Rudd MP:

We are shocked to learn of Stephen’s experience in the UK as a child victim of trafficking forced to tend cannabis plants, enduring years of isolation, dangerous chemicals and physical abuse.

We are even more shocked to learn that his application to stay in the UK, where he has lived since being taken from Vietnam aged 10, has been refused.

Please reconsider your decision not to approve Stephen’s application to stay in the UK. Stephen has no family connections or support in Vietnam. His deportation risks placing him in the hands of traffickers.

Sadly, Stephen’s case is not isolated. He is one of thousands of children and young people who are trafficked to the UK each year with many being sent back against their wishes after they turn 18.

Our campaign with ECPAT UK ‘Help Trafficked Children in the UK’ sets out the changes you should make to ensure that all child victims receive the long-term support to recover from their abuse and rebuild their lives.

Freedom United will protect your privacy while updating you on campaigns, news and stories about modern slavery.

Latest Activity

  • Lucy C. United States
  • Clara H. United States
  • Ivor R. Ireland
  • Ingrid M. Austria
  • Cynthia M. United States

Share this campaign

Deeper into this campaign

Image gallery

Send this to a friend