Fears UK is deporting victims of modern slavery

Some of those being deported by the government are suspected to be victims of modern slavery who have not yet had a chance to make their case, lawyers have told The Independent.

28 Feb 2020| News

Three charter flights have left the UK in the last three weeks, removing migrants to the EU, Pakistan and Jamaica.

As well as potential victims of modern slavery, it is thought some of those deported were seeking asylum and face torture if they are returned to their countries of origin.

Lawyers told The Independent many of those being deported had not had the opportunity to fight their case due to poor legal advice. This comes after 25 Jamaican nationals avoided removal earlier this month after courts ruled they had not been provided with quality legal advice.

Some of those facing deportation told the newspaper that they had been exploited without pay and physically abused by their UK-based employers.

Toufique Hossain, Director of Public Law at Duncan Lewis Solicitors, told The Independent that the Home Office was aware some of those being deported had been referred to have their cases investigated after claims of modern slavery.

“They’d rather wait for the courts to intervene than do the right thing,” he said.

“The Home Office continue their relentless practice of mass expulsion by way of charter flights, undeterred even by recent clear examples where removal would have been unlawful.”

Bella Sankey, Director of Detention Action, was quoted by the newspaper as saying: “Three attempted charter flights by Boris Johnson’s government in as many weeks – it’s clear this prime minister is no ‘Brexity-Hezza’. He is presiding over a deeply illiberal mass deportation policy, which scoops up victims of modern slavery and long term British residents indiscriminately.

“Parliament must embrace fundamental reform of this system through the Immigration Bill or knowingly put its trust in a government which boasts contempt for the rule of law.”