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Victims Of Trafficking Were Refused Free Legal Advice Because The Government Got The Law Wrong

A young woman who was brought to the UK and sexually exploited as a child has exposed a serious error by the government in its handling of one of Theresa May’s flagship policies that could have denied free legal advice to scores of trafficking victims, Buzzfeed reported.

As home secretary, May put tackling modern slavery at the centre of her agenda, telling victims “we are here to help you” and promising to protect them from cuts to legal aid so that they would be able to afford lawyers to help fight their immigration cases.

The Home Office also boasted in leaflets and on its website that trafficking victims could get free legal advice on immigration.

But at the same time, it has now been revealed, a different government agency was denying legal aid applications from trafficking victims.

The Legal Aid Agency (LAA), an arms-length part of the Ministry of Justice, has now been forced to admit that it was wrong to deny legal aid in such cases.

Hundreds of foreign trafficking victims end up in the UK every year – the latest figures show 2,358 potential victims were reported in one year alone. The situation means hundreds – if not thousands – may have been turned down for legal aid when trying to stay on in Britain.

Read more from Buzzfeed

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