On 28th May 2020 the Bishop of Bristol, Rt Revd Vivienne Faull, received written answers to three questions asked on modern day slavery:
The Lord Bishop of Bristol: HL4177 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what long-term support services they plan to provide to survivors of trafficking to protect them from being re-trafficked and to ensure that they are supported when the COVID-19 lockdown ends.
The Lord Bishop of Bristol: HL4178 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they have taken to ensure that the level of subsistence support given to victims of modern slavery during the COVID-19 pandemic is sufficient to meet essential needs.
Baroness Williams of Trafford: This Government is committed to stamping out modern slavery and providing victims with the support they need to rebuild their lives.
The Victim Care Contract aims to lift victims of modern slavery out of exploitation and establish a pathway to rebuild their lives. The Recovery Needs Assessment (RNA) informs a tailored move-on plan for confirmed victims, with the aim of establishing longer-term stability by helping victims transition out of VCC support and back into a community, as appropriate. Where this is not possible, VCC support will continue to meet the victim’s ongoing recovery needs.
The safety and security of those supported through the modern slavery Victim Care Contract (VCC) is a top priority during the COVID-19 pandemic.
We are continually reviewing how essential services can best be maintained and delivered to ensure victims receive and have the means to access the support they need at this time. To ensure our support system remains robust, we have adapted the method by which victims receive financial support. A new card payment solution has been rolled out to allow victims to receive their payments without requiring a cash transaction or a face-to-face meeting with a support worker. These pre-paid cards for users can be used online, in shops or in cash machines.
The policy change announced on 6 April mean individuals who are accommodated in the VCC, will have continued access to this accommodation until at least the 6 July 2020. The policy will be reviewed before the end of June in respect of the Government’s latest covid-19 advice. This change, alongside the existing support mechanisms within the contract will ensure that vulnerable individuals are not left without the essential support they need at this challenging time.
As the public health restrictions are lifted, we are committed as ever, to support victims and protect them from re-trafficking.
The Lord Bishop of Bristol: HL4179 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what progress they have made in their proposal to provide places of safety for victims of modern slavery.
Baroness Williams of Trafford: Places of safety would provide support to adult victims of modern slavery leaving situations of immediate exploitation. They would receive accommodation, assistance and advice for up to 3 working days, allowing them time to consider if they wish to be referred to the National Referral Mechanism. A provision for Places of Safety has been included in the tender for The Modern Slavery Victim Care Contract (MSVCC) which will replace the current contract. We are nearing the end of the tender process, and the contract will be awarded in due course.