Braverman hostile to modern slavery survivors

Braverman’s bid to leave the ECHR is the latest hostility to modern slavery survivors

  • Published on
    September 1, 2023
  • News Source Image
  • Category:
    Law & Policy
Hero Banner

In a recent interview on BBC’s Radio 4’s Today, Home Secretary Suella Braverman stated her wish that the U.K. leave the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), calling it “a politicized court,” “interventionist,” and “treading on the territory of national sovereignty.” This move would be the latest in a series of recent measures shredding the rights of modern slavery survivors. 

Freedom from slavery and forced labor goes “out the window” 

Far from being “politicized” or “interventionist,” the judges of the ECHR are independent and do not represent the nationality of applicants or States. In fact, the ECHR fills a vital role as an objective court of appeals that helps protect victims of modern slavery. If survivor’s rights are not recognized in U.K. courts, they can go to the ECHR to ask to have their rights recognized.  

Phillipa Roberts, Head of Policy and Research for Hope for Justice, told Byline Times: 

“The ECHR is an integral part of the legal framework that protects victims. And that’s regardless, actually, of whether the person who is a victim is a foreign national or a British national.” 

In addition, the ECHR does not just support irregular migrants, as much of the inflammatory rhetoric would have us believe, 25% of modern slavery cases that take place in the U.K. are those of British nationals. The ECHR helps all victims of modern slavery, regardless of where they come from.  

Dialing up vulnerability and dialing down support  

Human trafficking in the U.K. is well-documented to be on the rise. The data from the 2022 Annual Report for the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) noted 16,938 potential victims of modern slavery referred to the Home Office – a 33% increase compared to the preceding year, which stood at 12,706.  

Ms. Robers said: 

“The Government’s policies are actively increasing vulnerability to exploitation, hampering identification and access to support which in turn hampers efforts to investigate cases and bring perpetrators to justice.” 

Contrary to building effective policies to catch and stop human traffickers, the government is doing the opposite and preparing fertile ground for those who want to exploit instead of protecting and supporting those who have been exploited. Even British courts ruled some of the new policies unlawful and as penalizing trafficking survivors, with the U.N. High Commission saying the Refugee Ban Bill goes against international law.  

Last port of call for rights protection  

If the UK removes itself from the ECHR, survivors will lose the unbiased rights framework that is the last port of call for rights recognition when domestic channels fail. As the U.K. government increasingly strips all protection from migrants and survivors of modern slavery, the ECHR becomes an imperative check on rights abuse. Removal means victims would have even less chance of accessing needed support like housing and income, and the chances of them being re-trafficked due to desperate conditions rise exponentially.  

Freedom United calls on the government of the U.K. to recognize the value of staying in the ECHR and the cost of losing impartial human rights protection it provides. Pulling out of the ECHR, passing harmful legislation like the Refugee Ban Bill, and stripping migrants of their basic protections is not OK. Stand with Freedom United and raise your voice to stop harmful legislation that will only put trafficking victims in greater danger. Add your name to the campaign today! 

Subscribe

Freedom United is interested in hearing from our community and welcomes relevant, informed comments, advice, and insights that advance the conversation around our campaigns and advocacy. We value inclusivity and respect within our community. To be approved, your comments should be civil.

stop icon A few things we do not tolerate: comments that promote discrimination, prejudice, racism, or xenophobia, as well as personal attacks or profanity. We screen submissions in order to create a space where the entire Freedom United community feels safe to express and exchange thoughtful opinions.

Notify of
guest
1 Comment
Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Richard Hayward
Richard Hayward
5 months ago

Regrettably, this is so typical of the hateful position this Tory government has adopted and this Home Secretary in particular – it is not representative of the UK population they claim to serve.

This week

Nowhere left to hide: new evidence links Volkswagen to Uyghur forced labor

In the midst of mounting concerns surrounding forced labor in China’s Uyghur Region, German automaker Volkswagen once again finds itself embroiled in controversy over its operations in the region. Recent reports suggest that forced labor may have been utilized in the construction of the company’s test track in the Uyghur Region under the joint venture with its Chinese partner SAIC. Volkswagen ignored all the forced labor red flags German media broke

| Wednesday February 14, 2024

Read more