Government responds to parliamentary question asking what steps they are taking to identify and protect victims of human trafficking during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Baroness Williams of Trafford, the Home Office, has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (HL3917):
Question by Lord Alton of Liverpool:
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to identify and protect victims of human trafficking during the COVID-19 pandemic. (HL3917)
Tabled on: 05 May 2020
Baroness Williams of Trafford:
Modern slavery is a harmful and hidden crime and its victims may be especially isolated and hidden from view during the coronavirus outbreak. We recognise that there are greater vulnerabilities for potential victims during COVID-19, as social distancing means there is a risk that they are not identified by First Responders and may find it harder to access support. That is why the Government has taken clear steps to address these risks and ensure that we continue to support some of the most vulnerable people in our society.
To ensure victims continue to feel supported and safe, we announced on 6 April 2020, that all individuals in accommodation provided by the government-funded specialist Modern Slavery Victim Care Contract, will not be required to move on from their accommodation for the next three months.
We have also secured £1.73 million of the funding for charities, announced by the Chancellor last month, to provide emergency support to victims of modern slavery who have been impacted by the coronavirus outbreak. This funding will assist individuals supported through the Victim Care Contract and will ensure victims are able to stay in government-funded safe accommodation, access financial assistance, access support services remotely, and make sure we manage additional demand on services during this period.
We have also produced guidance for both First Responders and frontline staff with advice on what to do if they encounter a potential victim of modern slavery while ensuring the safety of victims, First Responders and support staff and adhering to Public Health England guidance on social distancing and PPE where possible.
Date and time of answer: 14 May 2020 at 14:00.