​Slavery victims abandoned by UK govt face further abuse, exploitation

(Reuters /  Stefan Wermuth)
Traumatized human trafficking survivors, abandoned by the government, are at high risk of being lured back into the clutches of criminals, a new report reveals.

Thereport, published by The Human Trafficking Foundation (HTF) on Monday, shows victims freed from “modern day slavery” are discarded and left to their own devices after leaving government-funded safe houses.

Speaking to RT on Monday, director of the Human Trafficking Foundation, Tatiana Jardan said an effective strategy to stop survivors of modern slavery from falling into further abuse is vital.

We believe that if no effective strategy is put in place to prevent re-victimisation by ensuring long-term support to survivors of modern slavery, the cycle of abuse and exploitation of vulnerable people may continue unabated,” she said.

Britain has seen a considerable increase in human trafficking over the past two years. The UK National Referral Mechanism received 2,340 referrals of potential victims last year, according to the National Crime Agency (NCA). This is a 34-percent increase on 2013.

The figures also showed 61 percent of these victims were females. As this crisis worsens, more vulnerable victims are in desperate need of help. Many become homeless, the report says.

Damning evidence relating to gaps in government policy designed to deal with these survivors also surfaced.

Central to the HTF’s findings, was a need to keep trafficking victims safe from further exploitation.

The research called for urgent action from the government and local authorities to keep more survivors of modern slavery “safe,” insisting additional research is vital.

Under the government’s modern day slavery strategy, potential victims are eligible to live in a safe house and receive support for a minimum of 45 days. However, there is no guarantee they will be monitored once they leave.

In a statement, Home Secretary Theresa May said the strategy launched in November 2014 will “put victims at the heart of everything we do.”

The HMF says there is a “causal link between the way a person is treated after being released from the control of traffickers and the potential downward spiral back to a situation of slavery or exploitation.

READ MORE: 'Enslaved, violated, exploited': Hundreds of Nigerians trafficked to UK, say crime chiefs

The group adds, “current options for housing and support in the post-safe house period are not sufficient for survivors of modern slavery.”

Ten survivors, women aged between 18 and 50, were interviewed by the HTF. They highlighted a number of issues that hindered their recovery, but the most common theme was “isolation & risk of future harm.”

Katrin, a survivor, told the HTFthe safe house was a great help.

Here you are safe, but when you go out from this house you feel like rubbish because nobody cares, nobody calls you, if you have any problem[s], nobody cares for you,” she said.

Ife, another survivor, said even if victims of modern slavery are provided with additional support after leaving the safe house, “it’s like once a week.

Nevertheless, he praised safe houses in Britain, saying victims of trafficking are provided with everything they need.

However, Ife stressed people face serious difficulties once they leave these secure environments.