Victims of Trafficking Should Be Allowed to Stay in UK, Under High Court Rules | Immigration and asylum
Thousands of trafficking victims who have been left to languish in the immigration system for years should be allowed to stay, the High Court said in a landmark ruling.
Prior to the ruling, people accepted by the UK government as foreign victims of trafficking could be returned to their home countries, where they risked being trafficked again by the same criminals.
For this reason, many apply for asylum or humanitarian protection in the UK. They then have to wait years in legal limbo before their applications to stay in the UK are dealt with by the Home Office and the courts.
During this time, they cannot work, study or access regular benefits. Many say their emotional recovery from trafficking must be put on hold while they wait, unable to move on with their lives.
Tuesday’s ruling ordered that group of trafficking victims who applied for permission to stay in the UK to obtain it en masse. This will apply to thousands of recognized victims of trafficking. If the Home Office decides to appeal, it must file a request for permission to do so before October 19.
The decision follows a legal challenge against the Interior Ministry by a 33-year-old Vietnamese woman who cannot be named for legal reasons. She was forced into prostitution in Vinh City in Vietnam for about six months in 2016 before being forced into the UK by her traffickers, crossing several countries on the way including Russia, Ukraine and France before arrive in November 2016 in the back of a truck.
Between November 2016 and March 2018, she was forced to work in brothels and in the production of cannabis. In April 2018 she was found to be a victim of trafficking, but in October 2018 she was charged with conspiracy to produce cannabis and pleaded guilty in Preston court. In December 2018, she was sentenced to 28 months in prison.
In May 2019, her lawyers referred her again for a trafficking assessment, but the Home Office said it had no record of her case in their system. In July 2019, the Home Office found her trafficking records, but in October 2019, she locked her in immigration detention.
Although she has been recognized as a victim of trafficking by the Interior Ministry, her asylum application is pending and has therefore taken legal action against the Interior Minister.
The devastating impact of his trafficking experience was highlighted in the evidence before the court. She was diagnosed with PTSD, anxiety and depressive disorder.
In his judgment, Justice Linden said: “The effect of the refusal to grant the applicant leave from modern slavery is that she is subjected to the so-called hostile environment underpinned by the Immigration Act. from 2014 “.
The lawyer for the victim of trafficking, Ahmed Aydeed of Duncan Lewis Solicitors, welcomed the decision. He said: “We are happy that our client, and other survivors of trafficking, are no longer left to live in this demi-monde, this legal vacuum that has stripped them of their dignity and exposed them to more harm. ‘exploitation.
“Recovery is a vital form of relief for survivors of trafficking, and it will go a long way to assist victims in their physical, psychological and social recovery. Our client and the other survivors will finally have access to education, training and they will finally have the right to work. Not only will this help survivors of trafficking, but it will also bring a direct financial benefit to the public purse. “
A spokesperson for the Interior Ministry said: “The judgment does not say that permission should be granted to all victims of modern slavery, but that it may be necessary when a victim requests permission. asylum for fear of being trafficked again. We are carefully considering the implications of this ruling. The decision whether or not to appeal will be taken in due course. “