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The Passage Anti-Slavery Project

The Passage is a homelessness charity that operates in London and Brighton, and works to address modern slavery and street homelessness at both a local and national level. Júlia Tomás, Anti-Slavery Coordinator, summarises the support provided during the first two years of the project.  

The Passage has, since 2017, demonstrated the link between modern slavery and homelessness. You can read our original report here.

People who are homeless are particularly vulnerable to illegal job offers, to deception and coercion, and to exploitation. Many survivors are destitute and sleep rough when they escape their traffickers. Survivors might also be homeless while receiving government support to victims of modern slavery through the National Referral Mechanism (NRM). In fact, a victim of modern slavery is homeless by definition, as they are not home although they may have a roof over their heads.

In June 2018, The Passage created the role of an Anti-Slavery Coordinator to gather data, to create a network of partnerships linking the anti-slavery and the homelessness sector and to deliver training in the homelessness sector. Soon after, we created a model to support potential victims identified by our staff. The Anti-Slavery Project received a London Homelessness Award in 2019.

The Passage Anti-Slavery Project – Victim Support Findings 2018-20

In two years, the charity supported 61 potential and confirmed victims of modern slavery from 27 different nationalities. The three prevalent countries of origin were Romania (20%), the UK (15%) and Poland (13%). The majority of the victims were male (66%), aged between 22 and 57 years old. The prevalent form of modern slavery was labour exploitation although we also supported victims of sexual exploitation, criminal exploitation, forced marriage, domestic servitude, organ harvesting and child slavery.

More than a half of potential victims refused government support through the NRM. The Passage kept on providing all services to these clients including primary services (showers, food, clothes), mental health support, registration with a GP, temporary accommodation, assisted voluntary return, relocation and referral to specialist agencies (Forced Marriage Unit, rehabilitation, legal aid). All 14 potential victims who accepted entry to the NRM received positive reasonable grounds decision and one received a conclusive ground decision from the Home Office. The Passage also supported two people while they were receiving government support but were nevertheless homeless; two people who left the safe house with negative conclusive decision; and two confirmed victims.

Our recommendations regarding housing for confirmed victims who have no recourse to public funds (NRPF) include: increased housing in London during the period of reflexion and recovery funded by the government; access to legal aid before entering the NRM; and more coherent multi-agency support between organisations and modern slavery navigators for vulnerable adults.

Read the full report here.

The Passage has now a permanent Modern Slavery Service and from September 2020 we will have a Modern Slavery Navigator. The Navigator was commissioned by Westminster City Council and is funded by the MHCLG. This service is unique in the homelessness sector in England and we look forward to sharing its impact in September 2021.

A partnership with Westminster City Council and NHS Central London Homeless Teams has provided MARAC-type multi-agency support to potential victims until they are placed in a government-funded safe house, even if they are NRPF. This pilot project, Modern Slavery Multi-Agency Case Conferences, has been running from November 2018 and you can find a report of the first year of practice here.

Find The Passage ‘Modern Slavery Handbook for the Homeless Sector’ here.  

To find out more about modern slavery in the homelessness sector or to order print copies of the handbook contact julia.tomas@passage.org.uk

Channel website: http://www.homelesslink.org.uk

Original article link: https://www.homeless.org.uk/connect/blogs/2020/sep/01/passage-anti-slavery-project

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