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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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Bauchi pays N3.418bn in outstanding gratuities

The Bauchi State Pensions Board has announced that, from May 2019 to date, the state government has paid N3,418,288,11.68 in outstanding gratuities owed to retired civil servants.

The Chairman of the Board, Senator Bala Adamu Kariya, made the disclosure at the ongoing ministerial press briefing in Bauchi, held at the State Secretariat.

Although Senator Kariya did not specify the total gratuity backlog, he noted that it exceeds N20 billion.

He stated that since the inception of the current Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)-led administration in 2019, a total of 4,273 people have retired, and 677 have died while in service, out of 4,948 files processed.

“The Board processes the files of civil servants due for retirement. We are the custodians of the processed files of all state civil servants who have retired,” the chairman stated.

Senator Adamu, however, said that in order to avoid further accumulation of pension and gratuity liabilities, the state government intends to commence the implementation of the proposed contributory pension scheme on June 30, 2021.

“As a sign of commitment, His Excellency, the Executive Governor, Sen. Bala Mohammed Abdulkadir, appointed a 20-member committee, including a staff member of Messrs Premium Pension Ltd for technical guidance under the chairmanship of Mr. Abdon Dalla Gin (Special Adviser on Civil Service Matters).”

“In line with the Terms of Reference to the Committee, a final report with a draft bill has been carefully produced, tapping from the 2004 Act, 2014 revised Act, and previous efforts of successive state administrations like the 2005 and 2017 draft bills, and was presented to His Excellency, the Executive Governor, Sen. Bala Mohammed Abdulkadir, as appropriate.”

He recalled that Governor Bala Mohammed had presented the report to the State Executive Council for consideration and approval, following which a draft bill was forwarded to the State House of Assembly for further legislative process in line with the laid down constitutional procedure.

“After gathering the necessary stakeholders’ input, the State House of Assembly then ratified the draft and returned the same to the Executive Governor for assent. Consequently, on August 5, 2022, His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Bauchi State, assented to the bill enacted by the State House of Assembly.”

“It was named the Bauchi State and Local Government Contributory Pension Scheme. The law also provided for the establishment of the Bauchi State and Local Government Contributory Pension Commission.”

“The state governor approved the constitution of another high-powered committee under the chairmanship of Ibrahim Muhammad Kashim, the Secretary to the State Government, to facilitate the full implementation process of the new scheme in the state.”

Kariya further explained that prior to this development, the state government appointed two firms of Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs), who have now engaged stakeholders in a massive sensitization, advocacy, and enlightenment of the scheme across the state.

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Two-storey building collapses in Abuja

A two-storey residential building in Phase 2, site 2, Kubwa Abuja has collapsed

The building collapsed on Saturday morning at about 7:00am.

It was learnt that the building was formerly a hotel, Al-Hilal, but was converted to a residential apartment.

It was gathered that several people are currently trapped in the rubble.

As at time of filing this report, emergency responders and security personnel were at the scene.

 

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Police to enforce e-CMR compliance from July 29

The Nigeria Police Force have given all motor users 14 days to register their vehicles with the newly-introduced digitalized Central Motor Registration (e-CMR), which will end on July 29, to begin the enforcement of its compliance in order to checkmate the rate of vehicle-related crimes and other offenses.

In a press release, the Force Public Relations Officer, ACP Olumuyiwa Adejobi, informed that the move is part of the efforts of the Inspector-General of Police, IGP Kayode Egbetokun, to enhance the security of lives and property and significantly boost the nation’s safety.

The release further stated that the exercise is an advanced form of helping security agencies, mostly the Police Force, in their investigations and operational activities to combat vehicle-related crimes, including terrorism, banditry, kidnapping, and other social vices.

It also stated that the introduction of the e-CMR digitalized system will help streamline the documentation and verification process for vehicle ownership and related transactions.

“Following the directives of the IGP, services such as change of ownership, change of license number, change of engine, and change of chassis/body would become seamless as the e-CMR system would ensure the validation of vehicle genuineness and ownership, enhancing the ability to track and recover stolen vehicles effectively, and preventing the purchase of stolen vehicles by innocent buyers.

“Prior to the enforcement itself, the IGP has ordered full publicity of the e-CMR and its enforcement to all members of the public, intimating them of the requirements, processes, and the enforcement procedures. Members of the public are urged to obtain the digitalized CMR certificate online at https://cmris.npf.gov.ng.

‘For further inquiries, individuals can contact the CMR Command Centre at FHQ Abuja (08117777666, 09169892000) and FHQ Annex Lagos (08117777555, 09169891000). Technical support is also available at cmftech@npfcmr.ng,” the release partly stated.

Following this new development, the Nigeria Police have enjoined members of the public to participate in the exercise by ensuring that all vehicle users comply with the new directive, maintaining that the initiative, which is in line with modern technology, remains a strategic approach to enhance public safety and national security.

ACP Adejobi further stated that the enforcement of the e-CMR is necessary to ensure a safer and more secure environment for vehicle ownership and to decimate the trend of vehicle theft by greatly reducing the possibility of selling stolen vehicles in the country.

“We therefore urge all vehicle owners and users to embrace and participate in this initiative promptly for optimum safety and security,” he stated.

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