In a report published last week the US Government has highlighted the inadequate levels of care available for victims of trafficking following the 45 day reflection and recovery period.
The 2016 annual United States Government Trafficking in Persons Report notes reports from NGOs of victims being deported, re-trafficked or returning to prostitution on leaving the official support process. Whilst the UK Government is clear that the 45 day reflection and recovery period is not intended to support full rehabilitation of victims the lack of care at a point when many victims are still extremely vulnerable is a serious problem.
CARE welcomes the recommendation from the US Government that the UK should consider extending the reflection and recovery period. For a number of years CARE has been calling on the different UK Governments to double the length of this support period to 90 days. In the light of this recommendation from the US we hope the UK Government and devolved administrations will look again at this issue. In particular, as the Scottish Government prepares to bring the relevant section of the new Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Scotland) Act 2015 into force later in the year, we urge it to set a longer reflection and recovery period under Scottish law.
The Report also recommends that the UK Government should expand the independent child trafficking advocate programme nationally – echoing calls made by MPs during a Parliamentary debate last week. We hope the intervention by the US State Department will encourage the Government to act quickly to implement the new early adopter schemes it announced last week and will make sure these can be followed quickly by a swift roll out to the rest of England and Wales.