Latest modern slavery fight updates - FreedomUnited.org

Coerced into Crime, UK Throws Trafficked Women in Jail

  • Published on
    September 17, 2018
  • News Source Image
  • Category:
    Forced Labor, Human Trafficking, Rehabilitation & Liberation
Hero Banner

In breach of the Modern Slavery Act, female victims of human trafficking are being unlawfully held in prisons across the UK, jailed for offenses that they were forced to commit by their traffickers.

New research from the Prison Reform Trust reveals that trafficked foreign national women are hit hardest by this practice, with the government failing to identify their exploitation.

Related Campaign: Support all UK victims of human trafficking.

Furthermore, the report says that the problem has been driven by an “overarching” aim to deport foreign national offenders as quickly as possible.

The Independent reports:

A statutory defence is in place for victims of human trafficking and modern slavery in the UK who are coerced or compelled to commit offences in section 45, Modern Slavery Act 2015.

Of the 585 foreign national female prisoners studied for the report between February 2013 and March 2017, 45 were identified as victims or potential victims of trafficking, suggesting one in 12 non-British inmates are affected.

Their crimes included cannabis production, prostitution related offences and begging, as well as fraud and false document offences – indicator offences for trafficking and coercion.

One woman, who was forced into prostitution and cannabis production after being trafficked from Vietnam in the back of a lorry, spent more than five months in prison before she was recognised as a victim of human trafficking by the National Referral Mechanism (NRM). Her charges were subsequently dropped and she was released into safe accommodation with specialist support.

Katy Swaine Williams, senior project officer at the Prison Reform Trust, said there appeared to be a “conflict of interest” in government between immigration control and protecting victims of trafficking.

“Despite legislation to protect victims of trafficking, current processes are failing to identify vulnerable women and prevent their prosecution for offences they were compelled to commit,” she added.

The Prison Reform Trust research also notes that there is no official data on the number of trafficking victims who are wrongly prosecuted for offences carried out due to coercion.

In response to the report findings, a government spokesman emphasized that victims should not be prosecuted.

“We have commissioned an independent review of the Modern Slavery Act which will consider the implementation of the statutory defence for victims and help us to identify what more we can do to tackle these terrible crimes,” they said.

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
2 Comments
Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Thomas P. Wahl
Thomas P. Wahl
5 years ago

The heading seems to be deceptive. The first part of the report does tell us what the Brits have been doing, but the last sentences seem to be saying. Shouldn’t the heading be something the “The Brits discover that they have been doing …..?” Especially as the article is not visible in its entirety, and one must press a button to get the rest of the report before that they are now trying to correct this.

Thomas P. Wahl
Thomas P. Wahl
5 years ago

Apparently we’re seeing here a report that they have recognized and are now attempting to remedy this error. At least that is what the end of the report says.

This week

Rounded up and abandoned: Europe’s covert support of migrant atrocities

It is well documented that inhumane immigration policies are forcing migrants to take extremely risky routes on their journey to seek asylum in Europe and globally. However, a year-long investigation by the Washington Post, Lighthouse Reports, and a consortium of international media outlets uncovered that migrant lives are not just at risk due to sketchy channel crossings and being packed in the back of refrigerator trucks. To dissuade sub-Saharan

| Wednesday May 22, 2024

Read more