IASC commentary: Supporting survivors to regain independence
Comments by the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner, Dame Sara Thornton, feature in an article published today by Thomson Reuters Foundation on priorities for the anti-slavery movement in 2021.
Expanding on her comments in the article on the moral and practical arguments for granting leave to survivors, the Commissioner further adds:
“I continue to be concerned to hear the anguish and trauma caused to survivors of modern slavery who even after they have had a positive trafficking decision from the Home Office are waiting for decisions about whether they will be able to remain in the UK. I have been working with officials to try to understand why decisions take so long but this approach is slow and meanwhile survivors are suffering.
"The latest guidance says that discretionary leave is automatically considered for all non-EEA survivors. But the overall number of survivors granted discretionary leave remains very low. In 2015, 123 survivors with positive conclusive grounds were granted discretionary leave, in 2019 it was 70 and in the first three months of this year it was only 8. From 1 January some EEA nationals will be similarly unsure about their future.
"There is a powerful moral argument for granting leave for those whom the state has concluded are victims of trafficking or slavery but there is also a practical one. Without such leave survivors, who are not claiming asylum or who have not been granted EU settled status, are not entitled to accommodation and have limited access to benefits – they will either be unable to leave safe houses or left destitute on the streets. Surely 2021 is the year to resolve this?”
You can read the original article here.