This submission provides information on the most pressing issues that have been identified by the Helen Bamber Foundation in relation to our clients who are applying for or receiving Universal Credit (UC). It makes use of anonymous case extracts from clinical notes, as well as correspondence between the Helen Bamber Foundation and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
Many of the Helen Bamber Foundation’s clients were trafficked as children and have continuous access to HBF’s Counter-Trafficking Programme, which ensures they are in contact with, and safeguarded by, an independent advocate to ensure their protection and sustained recovery before, during and after the NRM process. Our clients are predominantly non-EEA nationals who may be undergoing NRM and asylum procedures, although that is not our criteria for referral.
HBF is seriously concerned that members of its client group are being inappropriately held in immigration detention, despite the findings of the Shaw Review into the Welfare in Detention of Vulnerable Persons, and the Home Office’s stated intention of its policy on Adults at Risk In Immigration Detention to reduce the number of vulnerable people detained and the duration of detention before removal.
Treating Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in Female Victims of Trafficking Using Narrative Exposure Therapy: A Retrospective Audit by Dr Katy Robjant, Jackie Roberts, Prof Cornelius Katona demonstrates that Narrative Exposure Therapy (NET) is a feasible treatment for PTSD in women who have experienced human trafficking for sexual exploitation.
The Helen Bamber Foundation submitted a briefing paper to the 14 March parliamentary debate on detention of vulnerable people, voicing clinical concerns about the negative impact of immigration detention on the mental health of vulnerable people.
This document has been informed by the following agencies who work with survivors of trafficking during and after the NRM process or who operate at a policy level.
These Co- authors are: The Helen Bamber Foundation, the Human Trafficking Foundation, The Sophie Hayes Foundation, The Jericho Foundation, Black Country Women’s Aid, The Adavu Project, Hestia, Hope for Justice, Unseen, The Anti- Trafficking Monitoring Group (ATMG), Snowdrop Project, Housing for Women and Amari Project-Solace Women’s Aid.
A briefing paper produced by the Helen Bamber Foundation and King’s College London after they spoke to the All-Party Parliamentary Group in the House of Lords on Modern Slavery in Jan 2017. It provides an explanation of the mental health difficulties which victims of human trafficking suffer, and the impact this can have on their ability to recall their experiences and provide a consistent account of events when giving testimony.
The report, Addressing the Mental Health Needs in Survivors of Modern Slavery, found that survivors of forced labour, sex trafficking, and other forms of slavery frequently suffer from severe mental health problems including Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, but there has been very limited research on which treatments are effective. The study was commissioned by the Freedom Fund and conducted by the Helen Bamber Foundation.
The Foundation’s clinical team gave evidence to the All Party Parliamentary Group’s Inquiry into the Use of Immigration Detention. Professor Cornelius Katona, the Foundation’s Medical Director and our Head of Therapies, Dr Katy Robjant, gave evidence to demonstrate that it is not possible to adequately treat mental illness in a detention setting. Their research highlights the significant mental health impact of immigration detention on vulnerable people. We welcomed the key recommendations and findings in the resulting report, which praised the contributions from the Helen Bamber Foundation as some of the ‘striking statistics statements made during the witness session’ and agree that those suffering from mental illness, including victims of torture, trafficking and other human rights violations should never be detained for immigration purposes.
The Trafficking Survivor Care Standards were launched in the House of Lords by Kevin Hyland OBE, the UK’s first independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner. The Helen Bamber Foundation’s Counter Trafficking, Lead Rachel Witkin, and Foundation’s clinical team authored Part 2: Enhancing Practice in Relation to the Health and Well-Being of Survivors. The Standards aim to provide a blueprint for UK-wide service providers across all professions on how to provide high quality care to survivors of trafficking and modern slavery. The Foundation’s ultimate goal for the Standards is to promote an integrated, holistic and empowering approach that places the needs of survivors at the centre of the process of sustained recovery, far beyond the current 45 day support offered during the ‘reflection period’.
This Paper, the first of its kind, was developed in partnership with the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Human Rights. The OSCE (Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe) commissioned the report after a speech Helen Bamber made for them, in which she compared human trafficking to torture. In HBF’s long-term experience of working with survivors, both the injuries and trauma suffered in trafficking cases are comparable with that of survivors of torture. In this paper, this is explained in a comprehensive, accessible way to enable other professionals to take it forward in their own area of work. The OSCE’s Special Representative, Maria Grazia Giammarinaro gave the keynote address. She was joined by two guest speakers from the Helen Bamber Foundation and the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute.