We are delighted to announce that public law director Ahmed Aydeed is shortlisted for ECPAT UK’s 2019 Children’s Champion Award in recognition of the commitment he has shown to children who are victims of trafficking in the UK.
The charity Every Child Protected Against Trafficking (ECPAT UK) is a leading children’s rights organisation which works to protect children from trafficking and exploitation. Their Children’s Champion Award recognises those who have shown a dedication to protecting child victims of trafficking in the UK.
Based in the firm’s Birmingham office, Ahmed has repeatedly stood at the forefront in the fight against human trafficking and modern slavery, with the work he carries out having major implications for both his own clients and others who have been subjected to slavery or trafficking as a whole. Such commitment to combatting trafficking and modern slavery is perhaps best demonstrated in his recent successful challenge to the Home Office’s policy that cut off all statutory support to slavery victims in the UK after just six weeks.
Understanding that relief should not be limited to 45 days, Ahmed issued proceedings against the policy on behalf of two clients, both victims of trafficking due to lose their specialist support as a result of this rule.
Following complex and lengthy proceedings, the Home Office conceded that the 45-day policy was unlawful and incompatible with the Trafficking Convention and that support should be provided in reference to the individual’s needs rather than by any reference to how long the individual has been supported. The outcome will have a huge significance moving forward concerning the availability of generic interim relief, and with the Home Office having to immediately extend assistance to all slavery and trafficking victims requiring support in England and Wales, over 600 individuals have benefited from Ahmed’s work.
Ahmed has demonstrated particular devotion to assisting child victims of trafficking in the case of H who was sexually assaulted whilst illegally detained at Morton Hall immigration centre. After Ahmed issued a challenge against the Home Office and Ministry of Justice they were ordered to pay £85,000 in compensation for unlawfully detaining H and their failure to investigate the sexual assault.
An investigation was only launched by Morton Hall after Ahmed contacted them with the threat of legal action. The Home Office accepted that it broke its own policies by continuing to detain H illegally for a further six months after the attack, despite officially identifying him as a victim of modern slavery.
This news comes as part of an influx of award shortlistings for Ahmed who has also been shortlisted for the Outstanding Contribution to the Fight Against Slavery award in the Enabling and Supporting Survivors’ Rights and Entitlements category at this year’s Anti-Slavery Day Awards, and for the Black Solicitors Network - BSN Rising Star (Private Practice) award at the UK Diversity Legal Awards.
ECPAT UK’s panel of experts from across the anti-trafficking sector will select and present the award during Anti-Slavery Week on the 16th October at the House of Lords. This will coincide with the parliamentary launch of their stable futures campaign for child victims of trafficking which calls for trafficked children’s long term needs and best interests to be prioritised in decisions about their future.
We offer Ahmed huge congratulations on his deserved shortlisting and wish him the best of luck!