The British government’s “disturbing” failure to identify exploitation has resulted in the illegal imprisonment of female victims of human trafficking, a new report shows.
A new research by the Prison Reform Trust shows that British police are routinely jailing foreign women who have committed felonies as a result of exploitation and coercion by traffickers in breach of Modern Slavery Act 2015.
The report blamed the problem on the government’s “overarching” anti-immigration policy of deporting foreign national offenders as quickly as possible, a strategy that officials say is intended to create a hostile environment for illegal immigrants.
The report studied 585 foreign national female prisoners between February 2013 and March 2017 and found that 45 of them were victims or potential victims of trafficking, which means at least one in 12 non-British inmates are affected by this issue.
The women were accused of cannabis production, prostitution related charges and begging, as well as fraud and false document offenses, all charges that are considered indicators for trafficking and coercion.
The trend fuels concerns about the way the government deals with modern slavery victims, especially after it was revealed earlier this year that the UK was deporting some of the victims even though they feared for their lives in their home countries.
“Despite legislation to protect victims of trafficking, current processes are failing to identify vulnerable women and prevent their prosecution for offences they were compelled to commit,” Katy Swaine Williams, senior project officer at the Prison Reform Trust, told The Independent.
“There are conflicted priorities here. The hostile environment is an important question to raise – is the government thinking first and foremost about immigration, while trafficking is further down on the priority list?” she asked.
While the Modern Slavery Act 2015 has predicted a statutory defense for victims of human trafficking and modern slavery who are coerced or compelled to commit offences, research confirmed by Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) inspectorate suggests a continuing failure by the government to ensure victims are identified, protected and supported in time.
Copyright © 2021 Press TV. All rights reserved.