UK

Child Slavery Victim in Claim Against Home Office After Sexual Assault at Morton Hall IRC

H was trafficked to the UK from Vietnam as a child. He was taken captive in Ho Chi Minh City by his traffickers aged 15. He was tortured, raped and forced into debt bondage. He was beaten with electrified sticks and burned with heated rods. He was then trafficked to the U.K, deliberately starved, deprived of his liberty, and forced to tend cannabis plants in Derbyshire. When he was 17, H was found by the police at a cannabis house in Derbyshire. Although he presented with clear indicators of trafficking, the Police failed to refer him on to the National Referral Mechanism (NRM). He was arrested and charged with cannabis cultivation. As he was a child, H was released into the care of the Local Authority whilst his criminal case was ongoing. H absconded from local authority care.

A year later H was found at a property raided by the police. He was arrested on suspicion of illegal entry and then remanded in custody because of his outstanding criminal charges.

Once again the police did not recognise him as a victim of trafficking or refer him to the NRM. H was interviewed by an Immigration Officer and repeated the account of his experience as a victim of trafficking, which he had raised at his previous arrest. It was only then that he was referred onto the NRM process. H quickly received a positive reasonable grounds decision, in support of his account that he was a victim of trafficking. The Competent Authority is obliged to communicate positive reasonable grounds decision to the police, who in turn should inform the Criminal Prosecution Service (CPS). However, in our client’s case the Competent Authority did not inform the police or the CPS. The CPS has since confirmed that, had they been aware of the positive reasonable grounds decision, they may not have prosecuted H as it would not have been in the public interest to do so. Without this, H was convicted and sentenced to 8 months imprisonment for cannabis cultivation. H was noted to be a model detainee throughout the period he was imprisoned. He served 4 months of his sentence and was subsequently detained by the Home Secretary under immigration powers. He was transferred from a Youth Offenders Institute to Morton Hall Immigration Removal Centre (IRC). In total, H was imprisoned for 4 months and unlawfully detained by the Home Secretary in immigration detention for over 12 months.

Read more: Duncan Lewis, https://is.gd/4mV3bL

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