Under the Victim Care & Coordination Contract which The Salvation Army manages on behalf of the Government, any adult in England and Wales who is a potential victim of modern slavery is entitled to specialist support and, if needed accommodation, to help them begin their journey to recovery.
At present there is not enough information about how Brexit will impact on laws and entitlements governing areas such as immigration, employment and benefits which could have implications for victims of modern slavery now and in the future.
The Salvation Army is currently reviewing possible implications of Brexit on all the people who come under our care, including victims of modern slavery. This will be a continuing process as more information emerges to enable us to engage with Government and other stakeholders to advocate for the rights of the vulnerable people we support and to ensure that steps are taken in a timely manner to mitigate any possible negative implications.
For example, through our unique position of engagement with victims of modern slavery, we are currently working to ensure that their voice is heard in the current Work and Pension’s Committee inquiry examining the Department for Work and Pensions’ policies and processes in relation to victims of modern slavery and to assess potential changes in policy after Brexit.
It is clear that the perpetrators of modern slavery will take advantage of any new opportunity to exploit people for financial gain. We will therefore be seeking careful scrutiny of any new immigration policies to ensure they don't create opportunities for criminal exploitation.
During this period of uncertainty it is vital that potential victims of modern slavery continue to feel confident to come into the current service to receive the specialist support they need and understand that support is given regardless of their country of origin.
The Salvation Army’s contract is flexible to cope with changing trends in victims of modern slavery requiring help. Over the past five years we have been constantly monitoring trends to ensure that we can meet the growing need, as referrals have risen fivefold since contracted support began in 2011. The same will happen with Brexit with the emergence of clearer indications of the impact it will have on entitlements of people from EU countries to enter and work in the UK.