Implications of Brexit for victims of modern slavery

Any briefing about something as uncertain and confused as Brexit can only be a series of suggestions about the various threats and possible ways to mitigate this. There will be other consequences; some we may be able to foresee today and others that will only come into view later. 

Impact of Brexit on immigration

It is worth noting that the last couple of years have already seen the development of a more hostile environment for European victims of trafficking. European victims can face barriers to achieving stability in the victim identification process and once they are out the other side. 
Victims of trafficking without the safety net of discretionary leave have faced problems with benefits and housing if they cannot get into work quickly enough, which often happens for reasons beyond their control. Their special circumstances are not given enough weight, placing them at risk of falling into exploitation again.

Impact of Brexit on compensation

Victims are highly dependent on general employment law to recover compensation from their traffickers. There is a dual threat from Brexit. Firstly, European employment law is extremely helpful to victims as it tends to be more flexible, for instance in respect of illegal working and women's rights.  Secondly, one of the strongest calls for Brexit came from those who wished to see the deregulation of the workplace and there will likely be strong pressure on the post-Brexit government to take advantage of freedom from the European Union to significantly reduce domestic employment law and reduce the legal protections currently available for workers.

Read our full briefing for the Human Trafficking Foundation here.