Christian politicians back letter warning of destitution for victims of modern day slavery

Nail bars are one location for modern slavery.Kris Atomic/Unsplash

Christian politicians are among the signatories of a letter warning that victims of modern day slavery are "vulnerable to destitution" unless the Government takes steps to protect their wellbeing during the coronavirus pandemic.

In the letter to Home Secretary Priti Patel, they outline a number of risks posed to victims that include not being able to access their support worker or receive financial assistance.

They may also be unable to self-isolate if they are living in "cramped conditions" in a safe house or asylum accommodation, the letter adds.

Signatories include a number of Christian politicians, among them Lord Alton, Baroness Cox and Andrew Selous MP.

They said they were "disappointed" by the response from the Government so far after similar concerns were raised by NGOs working with victims of modern slavery last week.

"We hope that you agree that there urgently needs to be guidance about accommodating both existing and new victims to ensure that the safety and security of victims is upheld," they wrote.

They went on to urge the Government to show the same commitment to victims of modern day slavery as it has to rough sleepers.

"As the Government has recently announced that rough sleepers will all be provided accommodation, it seems to us this measure should also be applied to victims of trafficking who do not access to appropriate accommodation," they said.

"Any guidance released should address the accommodation needs of victims, including if victims have to leave accommodation due to fears about the virus, and provision of accommodation to victims who contract COVID-19; the ongoing provision of a support worker where either the support worker or victim has the disease or has to self-isolate and the continued provision of financial support in either of these situations.

"Without this guidance, we have real concerns that victims may be left destitute, homeless and vulnerable to re-trafficking, and not to mention at severe risk of contracting COVID-19."