A Vietnamese boy has been awarded £85,000 in compensation from the Home Office and the Ministry of Justice after he was illegally detained at Morton Hall immigration center and sexually assaulted.
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Known as H, the boy had been trafficked by a criminal gang that forced him into growing cannabis in the UK in 2013. Yet when the property was raided by police, H was charged with cannabis cultivation and sentenced to eight months in Glen Parva young offenders institution and later sent to Morton Hall.
The government now admits that he should never have been detained as he is a victim of human trafficking. But the admission comes after another inmate sexually assaulted him.
The Guardian reports:
The Home Office must pay £82,000 to the Vietnamese national – known as H – after it admitted the teenager was being detained illegally when a fellow inmate attempted to rape him in his cell in 2016.
In addition to the Home Office payment, the Ministry of Justice has been ordered to pay £3,000 for failing to protect H while he was being detained, and for failing to launch an investigation following the assault.
The Home Office accepted during the case that it broke its own policies by continuing to detain H illegally for a further six months after the attack, despite having officially identified him as a victim of modern slavery at the time. It also continued to attempt to deport the teenager back to Vietnam.
H had disclosed that he was a victim of rape and human trafficking to doctors and staff at Morton Hall, but the centre’s management initially argued the attempted rape had not been regarded as a serious incident and H was not affected by the attack.
An investigation was only launched after lawyers from Duncan Lewis threatened legal action.
“Our client was a heartbeat away from being removed unlawfully by the home secretary, after he was falsely imprisoned for a year and subjected to sexual assault at Morton Hall immigration detention centre,” said Ahmed Aydeed, director of public law at Duncan Lewis.
“These horrific immigration detention centres deprive people of their liberty, strip them of their humanity and expose them to further abuse. They have no basis in a civilised society, and people will continue to suffer in them until the nation wakes up to the injustice of immigration detention.”