A new report in the UK reveals survivors of abuse in modern day slavery are not looked after by the government and are exposed to homelessness, thus becoming an easier target for traffickers.
According to the report titled ‘Life beyond the Safe House,’ survivors, who are sometimes given just a 48-hours notice before being evicted from the safe house, expressed feelings of abandonment and said they were “treated like rubbish.”
The report, conducted by the Human Trafficking Foundation, warned urgent action is required by the British government to protect vulnerable survivors from becoming victims again. Although systems are in place to offer safe houses and support for a limited period, victims are not being monitored when the 45-day “reflection” period ends.
The report said, “Many will still fear the traffickers, some may still have to pay off debts, others may be worried about returning home because of stigma and risk to their families, others who want to find work cannot do so because they feel unable to disclose details about their past or they have nowhere to live”.
Meanwhile, data from the National Referral Mechanism showed 2,340 victims were handled in 2014 alone, highlighting a 34% increase on 2013.
The cases involved 1,669 adults, of whom 1,084 were women. The report further called for easier safeguarding support access to victims and survivors of slavery and trafficking while allocating specialists to monitor them for up to two years.
“The UK government has made some significant steps to address modern slavery in the UK by introducing new legislation – the Modern Slavery Act 2015 – as well as drawing up the modern slavery strategy and reviewing the national referral mechanism.”
“However, our research shows that there is disparity between theory and practice. Unfortunately, there are many gaps within the current system that allow survivors of modern slavery to lose contact or disappear soon after being found in the UK,” it said.