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‘If I go back, I will be murdered’: a trafficking survivor’s reality under the Illegal Migration Act

  • Published on
    October 17, 2023
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  • Category:
    Human Trafficking, Law & Policy
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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. 


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Coryn Nixon
Coryn Nixon
7 months ago

Shame on our nation’s leaders. Britain was known to be humane in the past. It has been enriched by being so. Please find your hearts again and be merciful to those in desperate need. Put yourself in their place and help them.

Ken Hanrahan
Ken Hanrahan
7 months ago

We the people of a so called “free” society should be seeking to protect not potentially to destroy the lives of those people who are less fortunate and in danger!

Robert Walker
Robert Walker
7 months ago

Most Western government’s do little to curb internal and external sex-trafficking and even less to protect the victims of these crimes. The laws must be changed to prosecute these crimes and protect the victims. We must provide status and protections for all.

Felicity Dobson
Felicity Dobson
7 months ago

We do need many more courts or decision making panels to assess the legality of those seeking asylum. Because there are so few, many genuine asylum seekers arrive illegally, immediately prejudging their cases for asylum.

Sylvia Fox
Sylvia Fox
7 months ago

This action of the Governnents appears to contradict the assurances offered in their first report under the Istanbul Convention. The Grevio team need to be made aware.

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