Modern slavery: Support workers warned not to speak out about fears for victims

Support workers for fashionable slavery victims are being prevented from talking out towards cuts to their allowances, The Independent can reveal – with legal professionals and campaigners warning that that is blocking their entry to justice.

Hundreds of individuals recognized as potential fashionable slavery victims had their weekly authorities allowance – which is meant to help their restoration – stopped with out warning in August.

Support workers – who’re employed by charities – help survivors with many features of their lives and are sometimes their first port of name for issues. But the workers had been informed “do not comment” if approached by authorized representatives for trafficking victims, in emails despatched by the Salvation Army and seen by The Independent. The Salvation Army is contracted by the federal government to assist victims, and it subcontracts this work to 12 charities. 

Lawyers say the “do not comment” order has stopped them from gathering proof to show to the courts how victims have been affected by lack of their allowance. Support workers worry they are going to be “penalised” for offering info and describe a “culture of silence” brought on by their employment contract.

Campaigners and MPs stated “gagging” caseworkers on this means “limited” the justice system. They known as on the federal government to allow charities to tackle “systematic barriers” to assist for fashionable slavery victims, slightly than “deny evidence” that might enable them to entry justice.

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Among these affected by the allowance minimize was a Kenyan lady believed to have been trafficked to the UK, the place she was held in a brothel and compelled to have intercourse each day. The lack of monetary assist meant she was unable to entry toiletries, together with sanitary pads and toothpaste, or prime up her telephone so as to contact her assist employee and legal professionals.

The authorities identifies and helps victims of trafficking via the National Referral Mechanism (NRM), which requires the Home Office to provide support to aid recovery, and house them in “safe house” accommodation if required.

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