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Home Office to review policy on detention of trafficking and slavery survivors as a result of legal challenge brought by a survivor of trafficking (18 May 2020)

Date: 18/05/2020
Duncan Lewis, Main Solicitors, Home Office to review policy on detention of trafficking and slavery survivors as a result of legal challenge brought by a survivor of trafficking

Duncan Lewis Solicitors’ Birmingham-based public law team have brought a case in relation to the Home Office’s unlawful policy regarding the detention of victims of human trafficking, with the Home Office agreeing to review its policy in light of the team’s pleadings in the case and further submissions, as part of the settlement agreement.

The case involved a Vietnamese national (KTT) who spent three years forced into working as a prostitute in Vietnam, Russia, France, and the UK. KTT was trafficked to the UK on 26 November 2016.

On 17 April 2018, the Home Office decided that there were reasonable grounds to believe that KTT had been a victim of trafficking, however, before the claim was fully determined, KTT was convicted of conspiring to produce cannabis, for which she was sentenced to 28 months’ imprisonment on 11 December 2018.

In January 2019 the Home Office indicated its intention to make a decision to deport KTT as a consequence of the conviction, despite the fact that her trafficking claim was ongoing. On 31 October 2019, the Home Office accepted that KTT was a victim of trafficking in a conclusive grounds decision. A medical report was submitted to the Home Office diagnosing KTT with PTSD and depression but the Home Office continued to detain KTT under immigration powers in spite of the report and doctor’s opinion that detention would likely have a detrimental impact on KTT’s conditions.

Duncan Lewis Solicitors issued judicial review proceedings on KTT’s behalf challenging both KTT’s unlawful detention and the Home Office’s unlawful policy in relation to the detention of victims of trafficking.

KTT was subsequently released from detention to safe house accommodation.

The Home Office then conceded that KTT was detained unlawfully throughout her time in immigration detention. The parties are now negotiating the quantum of damages to which KTT is entitled in relation to this unlawful detention.

As part of the settlement of the case, the Home Office has agreed to review its policy, regarding the detention of victims of trafficking, in light of our pleadings in KTT’s case, and further submissions submitted by Duncan Lewis including evidence from NGOs including Taskforce for Victims of Human Trafficking in Immigration Detention (on behalf of Focus on Labour Exploitation; Association of Visitors to Immigration Detainees; Bail for Immigration Detainees; Medical Justice; Latin American Women’s Rights Service; Anti-Slavery International; Helen Bamber Foundation; Jesuit Refugee Service UK); After Exploitation; the Human Trafficking Foundation; Detention Action.

The pleadings in KTT’s case and further submissions will now be put before the policy makers in order to review the deficiencies within the SSHD’s current policy.


The legal team included public law director Ahmed Aydeed, trainee solicitor Primisha Chudasama, and caseworker Karen Staunton.

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