Assessing victims who were exploited overseas or historic claims in the UK (historic claims)
Last updated 23/09/2021
A person who claims to have been trafficked or exploited overseas who subsequently travels to the UK of their own accord, independent of their alleged trafficker, and passes through a number of countries on the way, may still be considered to be a victim of trafficking for the purposes of the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (the Convention) provided they satisfy all 3 elements of trafficking mentioned in Guidance on the components of human trafficking (cases identified in the UK).
This is because, although they may be far removed from their trafficking situation, they may still have been subjected to exploitation and may therefore be considered a victim of trafficking under the Convention. They may also still be traumatised by their experience.
Equally a person may have been exploited in the UK some time ago and still be traumatised by their experience.
These scenarios are often referred to as historic claims as they might be referred to the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) long after the exploitation has ended.
However, if the experience took place some time ago, or if support could be accessed in another country, the Competent Authority is entitled to take those factors into account in determining whether the victim requires a grant of leave in the UK due to compelling personal circumstances (see When to grant discretionary leave after a positive conclusive grounds decision).
Unless the individual has made an asylum claim that falls under the arrangements provided by the Dublin III Regulation (EU) No 604/2013 and another European Union (EU) member state or Iceland, Norway, Switzerland or Liechtenstein is responsible for examining the asylum claim, a Competent Authority must offer the potential victim support and protection in the UK under the Convention while their trafficking or modern slavery case is considered within the NRM. For more information see the latest guidance on Dublin III.
With these cases the Competent Authority must pass any details of the alleged trafficking or exploitation to the NRM Intelligence Hub so they can consider raising it with the authorities in the country where the offence was committed. This is to make sure the Home Office’s obligations under Article 27 of the Convention are met.
Consider this situation:
- a person has travelled from a country where one or more of the 3 components of trafficking took place (for information on the 3 components, see Guidance on the components of human trafficking
- they escaped their situation and fled
- the person travelled through a number of countries before arriving in the UK
- when identified by a first responder it was reported that the individual travelled to the UK of their own free will and had not been exploited in the UK
Consider whether the person:
- is still under the influence of the trafficker
- needs time to recover from their trafficking ordeal
- has support and health needs as a result of the exploitation
A person who presents themselves as a victim must be physically in the UK in order to receive National Referral Mechanism (NRM) related protection and assistance under the Convention.
See Potential child victims of modern slavery who are now adults for more information.