Modern slavery laws are to be overhauled to prevent them from being exploited by illegal migrants and foreign criminals, as new Home Office figures revealed two-thirds of their claims to be victims of traffickers are unfounded.
Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, will announce on Wednesday that serious criminals, child rapists, people who pose a threat to the UK’s national security, and failed asylum seekers will no longer be able to exploit the Modern Slavery Act to avoid deportation by claiming to be victims of trafficking.
The Home Office will consult on whether to strengthen the threshold for deciding whether someone is a potential victim of modern slavery during the initial assessment.
The consultation will consider a new “public order grounds” clause to enable protections to be withheld from dangerous criminals who have received prison sentences of more than a year, as well as individuals who pose a threat to national security.
Frontline workers including police, local authorities and charities will be trained to better help them assess genuine accounts of modern slavery before they refer it to the authorities for an assessment.
Referrals to the Government’s system for identifying victims of modern slavery more than doubled between 2017 and 2020 from 5,141 to 10,613.
However, Home Office figures show 314 out of a total of 486 claims by immigration offenders and foreign criminals were rejected – a total of 66 per cent.
Ms Patel said: “Our generous safeguards for victims are being rampantly abused by child rapists, people who pose a threat to national security and failed asylum seekers with no right to be here.
“They are diverting resources away from genuine victims of trafficking, persecution and serious harm – which is completely unacceptable.
“The UK has led the world in protecting the victims of modern slavery and we will continue to support those who have suffered intolerable abuse at the hands of criminals and traffickers so they can rebuild their lives.”
Alp Mehmet, chair of the think tank Migrationwatch, said: “Modern slavery and people trafficking are abominable crimes and we must go to the aid of victims.
“But we must also recognise that measures aimed at helping such people are now being abused by those who simply want to avoid removal. Dangerous foreign criminals must not be allowed to get away with exploiting what appears to have become a gap in our defences.”
The original full article can be found at telegraph.co.uk