The reality of Anna (pseudonym), a sex trafficking survivor, facing unlawful removal from the U.K. demonstrates the abominable dangers that asylum seekers face under the Illegal Migration Act.
Anna was sex trafficked from Albania to the U.K. She was threatened and sexually assaulted on countless occasions throughout the journey. In an interview with Matthew Thompson of Sky News, she shares:
“I didn’t have the option to tell no (sic), or to say anything because I was being threatened for my parents. I was being threatened for my life.”
Anna’s circumstances are tragic, but not isolated
Anna’s case is being considered by the National Referral Mechanism (NRM), a framework for identifying and referring victims and potential victims of modern slavery and ensuring they receive the support they need. However, because she entered the U.K. “illegally” under the terms of the Illegal Migration Act, she could lose the protections of the NRM and face detention and removal. The Act does not consider the fact that Anna, like many others, has entered and will continue to enter the U.K. under force and coercion.
“If I go back, I’ll be murdered. And it will be the government’s fault that I was murdered.”
Anna is one of many who are trafficked into the U.K. illegally. Her story represents the utter cruelty of the government’s policies to refuse victims of modern slavery protections, enhance their risk of being re-trafficked, and in many cases, effectively threaten their lives altogether.
“Being here, it’s my last desire, you know? I’m being forced here. I don’t want to stay here. I really need to stay here because I’m really in danger… In my dreams I would be where I left my life in Albania… But right now I don’t know because the government has my life in their hands.” – Anna.
We need compassion, not deterrence
The Illegal Migration Act has zero compassion for survivors of modern slavery. With no access to support, as well as the dire risks associated with coming forward, perpetrators will go unchallenged. Experts have disagreed with the government’s tactics to use threats of detention, deportation, and denied access to deter people from making “illegal” crossings to the U.K. It is time that compassion is put at the center of the solution. Voices like Anna’s and those of many who are in the same circumstances cannot be ignored.
Freedom United stands for humane migration policies that protect people from trafficking. Sign our petition to call for genuine anti-trafficking immigration policies.