A woman who was a repeated victim of sex trafficking and suffered severe sexual degradation is to be paid substantial damages by the Home Office after it returned her to Moldova, where she faced grave dangers.
The “groundbreaking” settlement was reached on the eve of a high court hearing of her claim against the Home Office for failing to take steps to protect her and for sending her back to Moldova despite substantial grounds to believe she was at risk from her traffickers.
The woman, who cannot be named because she and her family are still at risk of retribution by her traffickers, was kidnapped at the age of 14 and then continually trafficked and re-trafficked for forced prostitution in Italy, Turkey, Hungary, Romania, Israel and Britain until she was 21…
She was arrested by police and immigration officers in a brothel in London in 2003, but instead of rescuing her they charged her with possessing false documents, which had been provided by her traffickers.
She was imprisoned for three months before being sent back to Moldova through a fast-track immigration process. Her trafficker was neither investigated nor arrested but was allowed to visit her in Holloway prison and Oakington detention centre, where he posed as her boyfriend, in order to intimidate her.
Her solicitor, Harriet Wistrich, said the woman was found by her trafficker when she got back to Moldova and was savagely ill-treated before being trafficked back into prostitution for a further two years.
In 2007 she was arrested again in Britain and held at Yarl’s Wood immigration detention centre, but was eventually referred to the Poppy project, which identified her as a victim of sex trafficking and provided her with the necessary support to make an asylum claim…
Wistrich said the undisclosed “substantial damages” followed the “groundbreaking” attempt to sue the Home Office for its failure to protect her. She said she hoped immigration authorities would learn from the experience so that other trafficked women would be treated as victims instead of criminals and rescued rather than handed back to their traffickers to be raped and ill-treated.
I don’t believe there is any genetic predilection that forces bureaucrats to behave like an absolute iron-headed ass. Going “by the book” resulting in predictable abusive treatment like this should be halted at the source.