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UK under fire for deporting modern slavery victims
June 13, 2018
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LONDON: The Government has come under fire for its “outrageous” treatment of victims of modern slavery who face deportation from the UK despite fearing for their lives in their home countries.

Ministers were accused of “riding roughshod” over the needs of trafficking victims, as it emerged that a Vietnamese man who was brought to Britain and forced to work on a cannabis farm by a drugs gang will be forcibly removed from the country this week.

Duc Kien Nguyen, who is in his 40s, fears he will be killed by his traffickers if he returns, but the Home Office claims it would not be “appropriate” to allow him to remain in the UK – despite admitting he was a victim of modern slavery last year. Campaigners said it was the latest example of Theresa May’s hostile environment to migrants, following on from the Windrush scandal that saw British citizens wrongly deported to the Caribbean.

Ms May has repeatedly spoken out against exploitation and pledged to “consign slavery to the history books”.

The Independent has battled to combat the modern-day scourge as part of the Slaves on our Streets campaign, which highlights the scale of exploitation taking place across the country.

Yvette Cooper, Labour’s chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee, said Mr Nguyen’s case highlighted a serious issue with the current system.

“This is the wrong approach. Sending vulnerable victims of trafficking back to the place they were trafficked from risks pushing them straight back into modern slavery,” she told The Independent.

“It also means that victims won’t come forward or ask for help for fear of being sent straight back again. Instead of tackling modern slavery, this risks strengthening the power of the traffickers.”

Labour MP Vernon Coaker, chair of the all-party parliamentary group on human trafficking and modern slavery, said the current policy was “outrageous” and “totally and utterly unacceptable”.

“Immigration policy seems to be riding roughshod over the needs of victims of trafficking. With much of this we’re talking about confirmed victims.”

The Independent

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