Thank you for your email regarding human trafficking and the case of trafficked teen, ‘Stephen’.
With regard to the case of ‘Stephen’, I was very sorry indeed to read about his experiences. I understand that an appeal of the initial rejection of his asylum application has been submitted and is currently being considered. You’ll appreciate that because I’m not aware of the specific details of the case and because the appeal is ongoing, I can’t comment further at this point. However, I will say that the UK has a proud history of granting asylum to those who need our protection and I’m certain that UKVI will be looking at every aspect of ‘Stephen’s’ case in great detail to ensure that the right decision is made.
With regard to human trafficking, I can assure you that the Government is committed to tackling every form of modern slavery, including human trafficking and I’m delighted that it has secured commitment from other governments and institutions, including the UN, the Commonwealth and the EU, to do the same. For example, it has successfully lobbied for the establishment of the first ever UN Sustainable Development Goal to end modern slavery and is currently working bilaterally with priority countries to deepen law enforcement cooperation.
At home, the Modern Slavery Act 2015 gives law enforcement agencies the tools they need to tackle this heinous crime, places a duty on large businesses to report on their steps to prevent modern slavery in their global supply chains, and ensures that perpetrators can receive suitably severe sentences of up to life imprisonment.
More recently, the Prime Minister has announced a new taskforce to accelerate progress on tackling human trafficking and modern slavery and has pledged £33.5 million of development assistance funding to tackle slavery in countries from where we know victims are regularly trafficked to the UK. The ‘Work in Freedom’ programme is helping to prevent trafficking of girls and women from South Asia and the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner, Kevin Hyland, continues to visit source countries in order to identify further opportunities for prevention of trafficking.
I hope that I’ve been able to reassure you that the Government is utterly committed to ending modern slavery in its entirety, wherever it’s found.
In the meantime, thank you once again for taking the time to contact me.
With best wishes.