Sex slaves smuggled into Britain are set to receive millions of pounds for their "pain and trauma" after a groundbreaking government decision to compensate victims of people trafficking.
The first payouts of more than ¥140,000 (US$282,000) were made last week to four women who suffered a "sustained period of sexual abuse." Another 10,000 are estimated to be eligible under a new interpretation of Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority guidelines.
Authority officials told the London law firm Lovells, which is acting for a number of the victims, that it would "officially recognize" the trauma experienced by thousands of women and children.
The development is likely to be politically controversial, with charges that offering help to trafficking victims could encourage illegal immigration.
The women who were compensated ¥140,000 were smuggled from eastern Europe by British-based criminals using established international sex trafficking networks. One girl was illegally brought into the UK five years ago, aged 13. Another was trafficked in 2003 when she was 16. Both were kept prisoner by the same trafficking syndicate until they managed to escape at the start of last year.
Lawyers, who have agreed to protect the identity of claimants, said they were subject to "forced prostitution, multiple rapes and beatings" while being held captive in the UK. In addition, their captors refused to give the victims money and warned they would be killed if they fled. The highest award was ¥62,000, the lowest ¥16,500.
The authority, which awards compensation to victims of violent crime, has agreed payments for "false imprisonment and forced prostitution during the time of their imprisonment" though neither exists as an official category for damages. Sarah Johnson, of Lovells, said: "This will serve as a precedent for other cases and we are delighted."
The Poppy Project, which helps trafficked women after they have been rescued from their captors, hailed the payments as a "tremendous breakthrough."
The women who have received compensation are understood not to have been deported. Victims will shortly win the right to stay in Britain temporarily after the government signalled its intent to ratify the Council of Europe's convention on action against trafficking.
Alongside the controversy of granting women the right to remain, there are also concerns that traffickers might force women to make fraudulent compensation claims that would find their way to criminals.
Julie Barton, of the Poppy Project, said: "Previously, women have received no financial support for them to start afresh or to address the terrible circumstances they have had to endure. Often they are forced to return vulnerable and traumatized to their home country without any support."
The Home Office believes the number of illegal immigrants being sexually exploited at any one time is about 4,000. Investigators and support groups calculate numbers to be in excess of 10,000.
‘OBVIOUS DIFFERENCE’: The Wuhan Institute of Virology has been researching bat coronaviruses to trace the SARS pathogen, which is 80 percent similar to SARS-CoV-2 The Chinese virology institute in the city where COVID-19 first emerged has three live strains of bat coronavirus on-site, but none match the new contagion wreaking havoc around the world, its director has said. Scientists think COVID-19 — which first emerged in Wuhan and has killed more than 340,000 people worldwide — originated in bats and could have been transmitted to people via another mammal. However, the director of the Wuhan Institute of Virology told state broadcaster China Global Television Network that claims made by US President Donald Trump and others that the novel coronavirus could have escaped from the facility were
SPACE RACE: The China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp mission aims to land a robotic rover and put a probe into orbit around the planet China is targeting a July launch for its ambitious Mars mission, which includes landing a remote-controlled robot on the surface of the Red Planet, the company in charge of the project has said. Beijing has invested billions of dollars in its space program in an effort to catch up with its rival, the US, and affirm its status as a major world power. The Mars mission is among a number of new space projects China is pursuing, including putting Chinese astronauts on the moon and having a space station by 2022. Beijing had been planning the Mars mission for some time this year,
India has moved additional troops along its northern border as it prepares for an extended conflict with China, after several rounds of talks failed to ease tensions between the nuclear-armed rivals. China has already placed about 5,000 soldiers and armored vehicles within its side of the disputed border in the Ladakh region, an Indian government official said, asking not to be identified, citing rules. India is adding a similar number of troops as well as artillery guns along the border to fend off the continuing incursions by the Chinese army, the official said. The standoff began on May 5, when troops clashed
China is poised to enshrine individuals’ rights to privacy and personal data for the first time, a symbolic first step as more of the country of 1.4 billion people becomes digitized — and more vulnerable to leaks and hacks. The legislation is part of China’s first civil code, a sweeping package of laws that is being deliberated during the annual meeting of China’s National People’s Congress, which began on Friday after a delay of more than two months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a recent draft, an individual has a right to privacy and to have their personal information protected. Data