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17 Jul, 2019 11:18

Hundreds of child slavery victims refused right to remain in UK – report

Hundreds of child slavery victims refused right to remain in UK – report

The UK Home Office rejected claims made by hundreds of child victims of modern slavery between April 2017 and the end of 2018, according to BuzzFeed News, which made a freedom of information (FOI) request on the matter.

Figures obtained by the news media outlet reveal that Britain rejected a total of 310 applications for discretionary leave to remain, and 65 asylum claims, during the same period the Windrush scandal broke. The episode led to a series of embarrassing reversals for the UK government on their “hostile environment” policies.

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The FOI disclosure by the Home Office reveals that Theresa May’s government only approved 16 out of 326 applications to remain in Britain made by children officially recognized as modern slavery victims. The immigration status afforded to those on ‘discretionary leave to remain’ gives people a right to a temporary stay in the UK if they have been the victim of extreme hardship.

The case of a Vietnamese child who, according to her foster father, had been the victim of gang-rape by her traffickers, is highlighted in BuzzFeed’s report. The girl had her asylum claims rejected, having fled Vietnam as a 16-year old, and was told she would be sent back to the country of her traffickers, just days after her 18th birthday.

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For Theresa May, who has been at pains to say that the issue of tackling modern slavery is of paramount importance to her securing a meaningful “legacy” once she leaves office, the revelations ostensibly undermine such sentiments.

Earlier this month, official data obtained by charity After Exploitation showed that more than 500 suspected slaves had been detained in immigration centers by UK authorities during 2018.

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