The U.K.’s controversial Refugee Ban Bill will proceed to the House of Lords despite significant criticism, including from influential members of the ruling Conservative party.
Endangering trafficking victims
The bill would enable the government to remove anyone who arrives in the U.K. irregularly to a third country, such as Rwanda.
The U.K. currently grants temporary protection from removal to suspected trafficking victims while authorities consider their case. However, this bill would remove this protection.
It passed its third reading in the House of Commons on April 26 by 289 votes to 230.
Leading Conservatives raise major concerns
Former Prime Minister Theresa May is among the Conservative politicians who have strongly opposed the bill. The Guardian reports:
May had warned that more people will be left in slavery in the UK by government reforms aimed at deterring migrants from crossing the Channel. The former prime minister, who held talks with the government over her concerns, described an amendment tabled by ministers as a “slap in the face” for those who care about the victims of modern slavery and human trafficking.
Former Conservative party leader Iain Duncan Smith has also warned the government about the bill’s potential to create “unintended consequences,” especially for people who have experienced trafficking.
The former attorney general and Conservative politician Sir Geoffrey Cox raised concerns about amendments that would enable ministers to override measures set out by the European Court of Human Rights.
Demand better for survivors
This bill will now proceed to the House of Lords, where it is expected to face more resistance. It may be subjected to delays and further amendments.
The Freedom United community is pushing back against this bill, which will put more people at risk of trafficking and endanger survivors even further.
If you’re based in the U.K., you can get involved by writing to your MP. Otherwise, join the campaign calling on world governments to pass migration laws that protect people from trafficking rather than increasing their risk.