Anti-Slavery International

Winning compensation for victims of trafficking and forced labour

This project aims to ensure that trafficked persons have consistent access to compensation in the UK, to which they are entitled by law. We are concerned that all trafficking victims have access to compensation, not only those who collaborate with the authorities to prosecute alleged traffickers.

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It ran from to

Registered Charity in England and Wales (1049160)

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    Categories

  • Human Rights/AdvocacyHuman Rights/Advocacy
  • Information/AdviceInformation/Advice
  • OtherOther

    Helping

  • Children (3-18)Children (3-18)
  • Older PeopleOlder People
  • Women & GirlsWomen & Girls
  • Young People (18-30)Young People (18-30)
  • OtherOther

Location

Situation

Although the right to compensation is enshrined in international law and the laws in the UK provide avenues for the compensation of victims of trafficking, in reality few of them receive compensation for the material and non material damage they have suffered. Typical is the plight of Lucy, an Indonesian domestic worker in her late thirties, who worked for a diplomat in the UK for two years, having previously worked for him in his home country. Paid only £250 a month, prevented from returning home to Indonesia, and threatened and abused by the family Lucy finally escaped. Recognised as a trafficking victim by the UK Government there is little she can do to claim compensation. She only has temporary leave to remain as a victim of trafficking for between 30 and 90 days, which is not nearly enough time to make a claim under the Criminal Injuries Compensation scheme or make a claim under employment law. Anti-Slavery wants victims like Lucy to be given temporary residence permits that would give them the time they need to bring a claim for compensation. Recent police anti-trafficking operations led to some £750,000 of criminal assets seized in the UK. The victims received none of this money. In none of the successful prosecutions of traffickers for sexual exploitation did the prosecutors request, or the judges order, compensation. In a few individual cases women trafficked for sexual exploitation have obtained compensation from the state compensation fund thanks to NGOs and lawyers working pro-bono; but these cases have not brought about effective changes in the system. Until that happens, each trafficked person will face the same battle, and the vast majority will receive nothing. Trafficked persons will continue to be deported impoverished to their home countries and as a result be at a high of risk of being trafficked again. A report on the the barriers to obtaining compensation together with recommendations for change can be downloaded from the Anti-Slavery website. The project will create a coalition (COMP•ACT UK) of key stakeholders, including NGOs such as Poppy project, trade unions such as union Unite, and legal professionals already collaborating with Anti-Slavery International. This coalition-based approach to tackling the systematic change needed to ensure access to compensation was developed in a consultation meeting that we convened, together with La Strada International, in September 2008. The work of COMP•ACT UK will be echoed in the advocacy work of COMP∙ACT Europe at the European level. It will generate a firm base for influencing European Union institutions. As a result of the project there will be significant increase in the number of trafficked persons receiving compensation, with at least 40 claiming compensation during the course of the project. Compensation will give victims the resources they both deserve and need to make a new start, whether it is here in the UK or in their home countries. According to Government estimates there are 4,000 to 18,000 victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation in the UK. This is but the tip of the iceberg, with an unknown number people trafficked for forced labour in a wide variety of industries. The project is budgeted to cost £76,334 for the next financial year. Costs include salary costs of £8,310 for the Trafficking Programme Cooordinator and £1,980 for the Advocacy Officer.

Solution