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Thousands of potential trafficking victims held in immigration centres, data shows

immigration

Thousands of potential trafficking victims held in immigration centres, data shows

More than 4,500 people have been held in immigration detention in the UK before being released into the community and only then identified as potential victims of trafficking, official figures for the past five years show.

Charities claim the figures demonstrate a “detain first, ask later” attitude that runs counter to the fight against modern slavery and suggest others are probably being deported without having been referred for support. They fear the situation will be exacerbated by the nationality and borders bill, which they say makes it harder to identify victims.

Maya Esslemont, the director of the charity After Exploitation, which obtained the data, released to coincide with anti-slavery week, said: “It is terrifying that, as hard evidence shows just how often survivors are punished rather than supported, the government would put considerable resource behind making the trafficking decision-making process even stricter.

“In thousands of instances, we have seen some of the most vulnerable people in the UK face conditions which have not been conducive to disclosure of their abuse. Aside from the moral imperative to make trafficking support more readily available to those who need it, it is clear that the government’s ‘detain first, ask later’ approach to immigration detention is completely obscuring the state’s ability to identify human trafficking, and is running counter to its goal of fighting modern slavery.”

The figures, obtained through a freedom of information request, show that between 2016 and 2020 4,565 people were identified as potential trafficking victims under the national referral mechanism (NRM) after leaving immigration detention, usually intended for people who are to be removed from the UK. The number for the first three months of this year was 68.

Emma Harris, an immigration and asylum barrister at Goldsmith Chambers, said: “This is a strong indication that there are likely to be victims of trafficking who have been removed or deported from the UK without ever being referred to the NRM for the recognition and support that they were entitled to.”

In 2020, nine of 10 final decisions of the NRM found the person referred had a victim of trafficking and/or modern slavery, Harris added.

Home Office detention gatekeepers, who assess suitability for detention, have a legal duty to identify suspected trafficking victims and give survivors the opportunity to opt into the NRM. Without a referral, survivors are unable to access support such as housing, counselling and legal support.

The Home Office has previously acknowledged that an effect of the nationality and borders bill may be that some individuals are “more likely to be detained, or have their detention continued, than would currently be the case”.

After Exploitation and other charities are calling on the government to scrap the plans.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “Decisions to detain are made on a case by case basis and vulnerable people will only be detained in very specific circumstances, such as for the protection of the public. Staff in immigration removal centres undertake training on the NRM and as a result potential victims of modern slavery are regularly identified in detention.

They said the plans would “ensure that asylum, human rights claims, and any other protection matters are considered at the earliest opportunity”.

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NAF airstrikes eliminate 30 terrorist kingpins, fighters in Borno

The Air component of the Operation Hadin Kai (OPHK), has executed a precision airstrike on the hideouts of ISWAP terrorists, killing over 30 of their fighters within Kolleram village along the shores of Lake Chad.

This is contained in a statement by AVM Edward Gabkwet, the Director, Public Relations and Information, Nigerian Air Force (NAF), on Tuesday in Abuja.

Gabkwet said the airstrikes conducted on April 13, were a decisive blow against terrorism in the North-East.

He said the operation yielded significant success as the Battle Damage Assessment (BDA) post-strike conducted revealed the neutralisation of over 30 terrorists.

Gabkwet said that among those neutralised were some senior commanders of the insurgents including Ali Dawud, Bakura Fallujah, and Mallam Ari.

“Additionally, numerous vehicles, motorcycles, and logistical assets were destroyed, severely hampering the terrorists’ operational capabilities.

“Intelligence gathered after the air strike further indicated that the aerial bombardment effectively obliterated a key facility within the Kolleram enclave, which served as a hub for the terrorists’ food processing activities, including grinding machines.

“The success of these airstrikes underscores NAF’s commitment to eradicating terrorism and ensuring the safety and security of Nigerian citizens.

“By neutralising key terrorist figures and destroying their logistical infrastructure, the operation has significantly degraded the capabilities of the ISWAP group in the region.

“These airstrikes complement the ongoing efforts of ground forces in the Lake Chad flank and represent a crucial step forward in the fight against terrorism in Nigeria,” he said.

(NAN)

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Francis Okoye arrested in Anambra bound commercial bus with firearms, POS machine

A 22-year-old man, Francis Obinna Okoye, has been arrested by operatives of Edo State Police Command’s Monitoring Unit for alleged possession of firearm.
Also recovered from him was a blue-coloured pos machine.
Okoye who resides at No 26, Jatto Street, Okolo, Lagos State, was arrested on 7 April, 2024.
A statement by the Command’s spokesman, SP Chidi Nwabuzor, said the suspect was apprehended by the  operatives while on stop and search duty along Lagos-Benin expressway, by Ovia river axis.
He was intercepted in a commercial bus loaded with passengers from Lagos state heading to Anambra state.
The suspect allegedly confessed in his statement that one Emma whose surname is unknown, gave him the gun to threaten his uncle, Mr. Paul Okoye, who was alleged to have killed his father with chams.
However, when operatives of the Command took him to Lagos on Monday, 8 April, 2024, to arrest Mr. Paul Okoye, they found out that the suspect lied to the operatives.
“The suspect will soon be process to
court,” the Edo Police Command spokesperson said.
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24yr- old man arrested for being in possession of fake Naira notes

Police Operatives serving in Abakaliki (AI) Road Police Division of the Enugu State Command on April 10 arrested one Mmaduabuchi Okonkwo, 24, of Mkpologu, Emene, Enugu, at the Old IMT Bus Stop, Abakaliki Road, Enugu.

The suspect’s arrest is the sequel to his alleged possession and transaction of counterfeited Naira notes. A total of forty thousand Naira (₦40,000.00) suspected counterfeited one thousand denominated Naira notes were recovered from him.

A preliminary investigation revealed that the suspect boarded a minibus from New Haven Junction to Old IMT Bus Stop, Enugu, and gave the driver one of the counterfeited notes.

The driver, however, scrutinized and observed that the currency was fake, thereby raising an alarm that led to the suspect’s arrest.

Upon interrogation, the suspect confessed to having paid the sum of twenty-five thousand (₦25,000.00) genuine Naira notes to his cohort at large for the counterfeited Naira notes worth fifty thousand Naira (₦50,000.00)

He further confessed to having spent ten thousand Naira (₦10,000.00) out of the fake notes, remaining the forty thousand Naira (₦40,000.00) that was recovered from him.

Confirming his arrest, the spokesperson of the command, DSP Daniel Ndukwe, says the suspect will be arraigned and prosecuted once investigations are concluded.

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