Theresa May failed to protect potential trafficking victims High Court rules

Theresa May

The Home Secretary failed to safeguard three potential victims of trafficking held in an immigration detention centre a judge in the High Court has ruled.

Mr Justice Blake ruled that Theresa May unlawfully detained three claimants, whose test cases on trafficking are related to other legal challenges which have argued successfully that the detention of asylum seekers during the period their claims are being decided is illegal as it fails to protect the vulnerable.

The claimants were a Nigerian boy brought to the UK via the John Fashanu Foundation programme, a 49-year-old Nigerian woman who was coerced into having sex with her husband’s friends and an Albanian woman, 22, who was forced to marry her trafficker.

Ms May admitted to failing the victims by not making the necessary referrals to trafficking authorities and police and by allowing the detained fast track (DFT) procedure to operate discriminatorily.

Stephanie Harrison QC, for two of the claimants, said: “It isn’t without some irony that only a few months ago the modern slavery act came into force heralded by the Home Secretary as offering protection to victims of trafficking being criminalised.

“The Home Office now needs to adhere to the law and its own commitments on trafficking and urgently review the asylum system so victims of trafficking are no longer detained and denied vital protections.”

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