Protection and support for survivors of modern slavery in the UK: assessing current provision and what we need to change

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  • 1 University of Nottingham, , UK
  • | 2 University of Liverpool, , UK
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Despite its stated protective purpose, the Modern Slavery Act has often fallen short when it comes to ensuring support, facilitating effective remedy, and safeguarding victims of modern slavery. Support services have been repeatedly flagged as insufficient to meet the needs of those recovering from modern slavery. Survivors have faced a ‘cliff-edge’ of support exiting the national referral mechanism, depriving them of access to essential services and leaving them vulnerable to re-trafficking. Decision-making timeframes have far exceeded stated benchmarks, leaving many survivors in limbo for extended periods of time. In addition, victims of modern slavery continue to be detained by immigration authorities and criminalised for actions committed while they were being exploited. Yet, at the same time, increasing numbers of survivors have been identified and supported as a result of the Act and associated care systems. This article explores developments in support for victims of modern slavery in the five years since the passage of the 2015 Act, assessing strengths, shortcomings, attempts to fill the gaps in provision, and where we go from here.

  • 1 University of Nottingham, , UK
  • | 2 University of Liverpool, , UK

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