Judge rules that the Home Secretary has not followed anti-trafficking policies
Hundreds of deportations could be halted by the recent decision from the high court judge, who ruled that Priti Patel hadn’t been following her own anti-trafficking policy of asking asylum seekers questions about their journeys to the UK. This policy is intended to help identify victims of human trafficking.
Why was the case brought to high court?
The potential trafficking victims brought the case to the high court after they claimed that when they arrived in the UK, they hadn’t been asked any specific questions about their journey to the country by the Home Office.
The three claimants, two from Sudan and one from Eritrea, were all placed into immigration detention and were due to be deported from the UK until they spoke with lawyers who then identified them as possible victims of trafficking, their deportations were then halted.
Mr Justice Fordham, the Judge in the case, said:
“It is strongly arguable that the home secretary is acting unlawfully in curtailing asylum screening interviews by asking a narrower set of questions than those that are identified in the published policy guidance.”
What did the judge order?
Mr Justice Fordham ordered that during the asylum screening interview, asylum seekers must be asked to describe their journey to the UK. By including this question, hundreds of deportations could be delayed or even prevented as their trafficking cases must be fully investigated, which could take months.
Maria Thomas, who was the solicitor representing the asylum seekers in the case, told the Guardian:
“We welcome the court’s intervention in relation to an unpublished policy, which deliberately omits important questions designed to identify vulnerable individuals who may be victims of trafficking, and in fact contradicts the published guidance.”
The order will come into effect this week.
If you need help
If you are an asylum seeker in the UK, our lawyers in Manchester can help you throughout the difficult asylum process, they are available for immediate advice.
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To find out more, speak to them today on 01618269783.
Priti Patel has been failing to follow her own published policies, that are intended to identify victims of human trafficking (Image credit: Richard Townshend)