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Hogan Lovells Advises on Human Trafficking High Court Victory

21 July 2015

Hogan Lovells has advised The Poppy Project as interveners in the case of IK, PU and Y v SSHD, where on 20 July 2015, the High Court approved a consent order stating that in three individual cases the Home Office breached their own guidance by failing to identify potential victims of trafficking, and failing to conduct further investigations into their cases.

The result of this was that the Claimants' asylum claims were unlawfully dealt with within the Detained Fast Track (DFT), a procedure which, according to the Home Office's own guidance, is unsuitable for victims of human trafficking. Once placed into the DFT an individual's case is dealt with on a fast-track basis and they remain in detention during this time.

Charities and NGOs such as the Poppy Project, which was set up in 2003 to provide high-quality support, advocacy and accommodation to trafficked women, have long argued that the use of the DFT hinders the identification of potential victims of trafficking and that the expedited timetable does not allow time for sufficient investigation.

The Hogan Lovells team advising was led by London partners Crispin Rapinet and Ruth Grant, with associates Sarah Baddeley and Greg Lewis and trainees Emily Skinner and Katy Finerty. Kathryn Cronin and Maria Moodie of Garden Court Chambers acted as Counsel.

Commenting on the significance of the ruling, Ruth Grant said:
"This order opens the way for further challenges by other individuals who have been unlawfully placed in the DFT and we intend to continue to work with the Poppy Project to ensure that those individuals who were not a party to this litigation also have the opportunity to have their trafficking decisions reviewed by the Home Office."

Poppy Project Manager, Irina DoCarmo added:
The Poppy Project has long said that detention hinders the identification of victims. We have supported women who have escaped trafficking and exploitation only to be detained by immigration authorities when they seek safety. We find this unjust and unjustifiable. Detention violates human dignity and we are pleased that in these cases the detained fast track has been found to breach the human rights of the claimants. It is now important that the Home Office works with the sector in a coordinated effort to ensure that victims of trafficking are identified and that appropriate support is offered to them."

ENDS

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