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Three new ways to support identified victims of modern slavery have been announced after a meeting of the Prime Minister’s Modern Slavery Taskforce, chaired by Home Secretary Amber Rudd.
The National Referral Mechanism (NRM), the system by which victims of modern slavery are identified and provided with support, will be reformed. A single, expert unit will be created in the Home Office to handle all cases referred from front line staff and to make decisions about whether somebody is a victim of modern slavery. This will replace the current case management units in the National Crime Agency and UK Visas and Immigration, and will be completely separate from the immigration system
An independent panel to review all negative decisions, adding significantly to the scrutiny such cases receive. And a new digital system will support the NRM process, for those on the front line to refer victims for support and enabling data to be captured and analysed to aid prevention and law enforcement.
Amber Rudd said: “The taskforce agreed that reform of the NRM was essential to make sure the best interest of victims is at its heart. Those people who are dealing with victims on a daily basis must continue to be properly trained and have access to the right information to provide high-quality support tailored to the unique needs of victims to help them begin to rebuild their lives. Members of the taskforce are absolutely determined to deliver a more efficient decision-making process, with robust quality assurance, and for all partners to keep working together to protect victims and pursue offenders. The UK has led the world in exposing and fighting modern slavery and, as our understanding of its scale and nature evolves, so must our response.”
The taskforce set up in September 2016 brings together ministers from UK central government departments, senior police officers, the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner, the heads of intelligence agencies and practitioners.
“Human trafficking is all around us, in all regions of the world,” the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said at a recent meeting to assess the Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons.
UNODC (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime) Executive Director Yury Fedotov said: “We need governments to devote the needed resources to put laws into practice, to support victims, to train practitioners, and to enable inter-agency and cross-border cooperation.”
He added that the Global Plan’s appraisal would sharpen the world’s response to an odious crime that exploited and victimized the vulnerable. According to UNODC’s Global Report on Trafficking in Persons around one third of human trafficking victims worldwide are children. Women and girls form 70 per cent of the total number of detected victims.