UK High Court: Government support period for victims must be extended
The British High Court has ruled that the UK government must extend support periods for victims of modern slavery. The decision comes as part of an ongoing review into Britain’s system for identifying and supporting modern slavery victims and will put pressure on the Home Office to make changes to the current legislation.
The case was presented by two immigrants who fell victim to modern slavery and sex trafficking. They argued that support should be provided on an individual need basis, rather than having the pressure of a time limit.
In line with current laws, individuals are supported by the UK government for a maximum of 6 weeks after being officially recognised as victims. This short period has lead to many individuals falling through the cracks and back into systems of slavery and exploitation. High Court Judge Julian Knowles who presided over case acknowledged this gap, stating that “there is a real risk of irreparable harm to a significant number of vulnerable victims of slavery and trafficking if their support were to end after 45 days”.
In 2018 there were over 7000 suspected victims identified, and many are raising concerns that the ruling highlights the flaws in the current system, which is unsafe and will not adequately support victims.