Survivors of modern slavery are being sent to prison for crimes they were forced to commit instead of being identified as victims and receiving government support in the U.K. In a recent survey of prison workers, it was revealed that over half felt the number of survivors in prison was grossly underestimated.
Forced to do the crime and then made to do time
In the U.K., trafficking victims are often forced to work at cannabis farms, in “county lines” as drug runners, as well as gang-related petty crimes like pickpocketing, according to The Independent. One person interviewed who worked in the Northern Ireland Prison Service reported that a large number of the foreign nationals they speak with in prison say they were enslaved or trafficked.
One modern slavery survivor said:
“…people (like myself) that were being forced to do this, they end up being sentenced to three years. I was a young child who was sent into the hands of a predator without knowing.”