A child trafficking survivor’s plea to the U.K. government

A child trafficking survivor’s plea to the U.K. government

  • Published on
    February 26, 2022
  • Written by:
    Monica Burns
  • Category:
    Human Trafficking, Law & Policy
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A child trafficking survivor has made an appeal to the United Kingdom’s government to scrap Part 5 of the harmful Nationality and Borders Bill which is currently being debated in the House of Lords.  

In an anonymous article published by the Independent, they explained how they would have been excluded from support had the bill’s provisions been in place when they were seeking help.  

“My abusers told me no one would believe me if I spoke out” 

The anonymous survivor was groomed at just 13. By the time they reached 18, they were facing regular sexual exploitation.  

In the Independent, they explain how their traffickers’ manipulation made it extremely challenging for them to seek help: 

Eventually, you believe the physical attacks and sexual assaults will never stop, so you rationalise the conditions as “normal” just to get through each day. I had to unlearn survival thinking; it cannot be eradicated overnight. Yet, professionals were not always patient as I struggled to provide detailed accounts of the abuse I had suffered. […] 

In my case, my abusers told me no one would believe me if I spoke out. I had been cut off from support, lacked trust in the authorities, and still felt trauma bonds with my perpetrators after years of manipulation. I was at a crisis point when I sought help, and it took months before I was ready to share all the details.

Even when survivors feel able to seek help from authorities, they face further challenges. Most appeals for support from people who the government has identified as trafficking survivors are partly or completely rejected. This particular survivor had to wait over eight months after reporting abuse for safeguarding to be put in place. 

Why Part 5 is so harmful 

Part 5 of the Nationality and Borders Bill would make it even harder for survivors of modern slavery to access the support they need to recover and better protect themselves from further exploitation. 

One particularly harmful component of Part 5 is the so-called “trauma deadlines” it would impose, whereby certain victims could see their access to support restricted if they fail to disclose details of their exploitation within a set timeframe.  

As this survivor’s testimony shows, the nature of trauma and the psychological manipulation that many victims endure mean that coming to terms with what has happened is often a long and difficult process. Imposing deadlines on disclosure will result in many being excluded from protection and support.  

As this anonymous contributor says, “[Survivors] already defy the odds to come forward and seek help. Adding more restrictions on getting support will undermine the trust of survivors even further.” 

Call on the government to #ScrapPart5 

Freedom United is alarmed at the Home Office’s willingness to trample survivors’ human rights in the pursuit of immigration objectives. As a community, and with our partner After Exploitation, we are rising up against this shameful bill. 

If you are based in the U.K., join us in putting pressure on MPs to raise your concerns about Part 5 with members of the House of Lords. Write to them today. 

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.

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Jenny Dewhurst
1 year ago

I’m writing a complaint to UNHCR Geneva. The situation in Indonesia is horrific. Refugees are forced to live under soul destroying rules. Their only hope to get resettlement is to peacefully protest. I would like your comments please. The term modern slavery features in my complaint. I don’t want any loop holes in my argument. I see it as modern slavery where a foreign government has paid the Indonesian Government to keep refugees in Indonesia for the next 10 years. Money has exchanged hands.

Jenny Dewhurst
1 year ago

A foreign government has paid the Indonesian government to keep refugees in Indonesia for 10 years. Money has exchanged hands. Isn’t this modern slavery? Refugees live very restrictive and claustrophobic lives in breach of human rights. For example no formal education means many children will not receive an education at all.

Jenny Dewhurst
1 year ago

In Indonesia, a foreign government has paid the Indonesian government to keep refugees in Indonesia for 10 years. Isn’t this modern slavery, when money exchanges hands?

Jessie Marshall
Jessie Marshall
1 year ago

Decent people stop begging uncivilized barbaric to treat you respectable, this will never happen. Fina a lawyer and sue for the wrong that has taken advantage of your person. The only help to this type of toilet situation is that the people that abused you will fall dead today. These type of people has to die in order for you to live.

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