Detention Action U.K. (a charity fighting for the rights of those being indefinitely detained in detention centres) has published a report showing that many victims of human trafficking are being detained in detention centres as illegal immigrants (for which there is no time limit in the UK) instead of going through the official channels of rehabiliation. These victims are being found in raids on cannabis farms, nail bars and other “businesses” that use trafficked slaves to work off their “debts”.
The Home Office deals with both the detention and return of illegal immigrants as well as referring victims of trafficking to the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) which is the governments body for assisting and helping victims of trafficking. As you can imagine these victims need care and support after the trauma they have been through as well as help in the next step of their lives. However the Home Office has a conflict of interest by being solely responsible for determining which path these people go down-treated as illegal immigrants or treated as victims of abuse. More often than not the victims will be sent to the detention centres instead of being referred to NRM.
“The UK’s anti-slavery commissioner, Kevin Hyland, has repeatedly described the NRM system as “a mess” and called for reform. The Detention Action report suggests referrals to the protection system should be done by independent advisers rather than the Home Office, to avoid a conflict of interest.” The Guardian Newspaper 15th November
Check out Detention Action as their website is really interesting and full of information on this issue and other issues of unfair, indefinite detention. The Guardian has also written a detailed article which you can read here .