Field report: Guarantee support for all UK slavery victims

Home Office rejects 12-month support for trafficking victims


In January 2018, we launched the petition calling on the U.K. government to pass the Modern Slavery (Victim Support) Bill into law. This bill would give victims of modern slavery in England and Wales the best chance of recovery and reduce the risk of re-trafficking through providing a statutory secure pathway of support, and transparent and legal entitlements for victims, as in Scotland and Northern Ireland.


The law in England and Wales does not guarantee specialist long-term support and access to other services for modern slavery survivors to overcome their traumatic experiences. It offers an initial 45 days reflection and recovery period to those the government believes may be victims, whilst in Northern Ireland, and Scotland where this period is being extended to 90 days, legislation guarantees victims will be provided with support.

Lord McColl’s Modern Slavery (Victim Support) Bill would ensure that victims receive a support worker and a care plan for 12 months immediately following their formal recognition as a victim to help them make that journey to survivor and a life that is free for good.

Although the UK government has pledged its commitment to ending modern slavery, the Bill failed to successfully move through the parliamentary process despite our best campaigning efforts in partnership with the ‘Free For Good’ coalition of UK organizations.

Campaign timeline:

March 2018: The Bill passed the Committee stage in the House of Lords with no amendments. Click here to read more.

November 2018: The UK parliament’s lower house was due to read the Modern Slavery (Victim Support) Bill, which would ensure slavery victims in the UK receive guaranteed support. We’re disappointed the debate has been postponed until January 25, 2019. Click here to listen to Lord McColl explain why the Bill is so important.

March 2019: We took your names to the Prime Minister’s office! Over 64,000 actions have been collectively taken demanding better support for victims of modern slavery in the UK. Thanks to your support, survivors were able to join us in London to represent themselves and make their voices heard.

September 2019: Prime Minister Boris Johnson suspended Parliament resulting in the bill being dropped from the agenda in the House of Commons. We hope to see the bill reintroduced in the next session of Parliament.

January 2020: Lord McColl reintroduced the bill in the new session of Parliament and the bill is having its first reading. We welcome this progress and hope that the bill will proceed quickly through the House of Lords.

January 2021: We are disappointed to receive a response from the UK government stating they do not support the Modern Slavery (Victim Support) Bill in its current form and do not believe survivors should be given 12 months leave to remain. It is deeply concerning that immigration priorities once again trump the meaningful recovery & protection of survivors. Read the full response from the government here.

March 2021: Freedom United urgently calls on the U.K. government to adopt the Modern Slavery (Victim Support) Bill and introduce the legislation in the next parliamentary session. Read the press release here.


Unfortunately, following successive changes in government since launching the campaign, the bill has not progressed through parliament despite our best efforts. With the passage of harmful legislation including the Nationality and Borders Act 2022 and the Illegal Migration Act 2023 that strips modern slavery victims of protections, we know that the chances of the Modern Slavery (Victim Support) Bill passing are slim at this time.

However, we will always keep campaigning for the rights of modern slavery survivors and continue to work in solidarity with partners in the U.K. and around the world calling for better protections for survivors.

Our partner in this campaign:

After Exploitation partner logo

After Exploitation

After Exploitation is a not-for-profit organisation using varied data sources, including Freedom of Information (FOI) requests, to track the hidden outcomes of modern slavery in the UK.

Anti Slavery International Logo

Anti-Slavery International

Anti-Slavery International is the world’s oldest international human rights organisation, founded in 1839 by British abolitionists. They work to address the root causes of slavery through raising awareness, campaigning, and directly engaging with governments and international organisations. Working in partnership with local organisations they support individuals and communities affected by slavery and facilitate access to education, justice and compensation for people freed from slavery.

Care – Christian Action Research and Education

CARE (Christian Action Research and Education) is a well-established mainstream Christian charity providing resources and helping to bring Christian insight and experience to matters of public policy and practical caring initiatives across the UK. CARE has campaigned for a better response to human trafficking for more than ten years.

Global Citizen

Global Citizen is a movement of engaged citizens who are using their collective voice to end extreme poverty by 2030. On their platform, Global Citizens learn about the systemic causes of extreme poverty, take action on those issues, and earn rewards for their actions — as part of a global community committed to lasting change.


The Co-op is one of the world’s largest consumer co-operatives, owned by millions of members. They’re the UK’s fifth biggest food retailer with more than 2,500 local, convenience and medium-sized stores. The Co-op also runs the Bright Future programme which works to help integrate victims of the UK modern slave trade back into communities.

Free for Good

Free for Good is a coalition campaigning in the UK to ensure victims of slavery has the support they need, guaranteed, to live free for good. Free For Good came together to help ensure the Modern Slavery (Victim Support) Bill becomes an Act of Parliament.


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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