Government crackdown on human traffickers

A new offence of human trafficking for non-sexual exploitation
has been introduced in the Asylum and Immigration (Treatment of
Claimants etc) Bill published this week by the Home Office,
writes Clare Jerrom.

The bill, announced this week in the Queen’s Speech,
includes measures to deter traffickers from telling asylum seekers
to destroy their travel documents. The home secretary said that 70
per cent of asylum seekers arrive in the UK without essential

It also sets out plans to introduce a single tier of appeal and
restricts access to judicial review for asylum seekers.

Families whose asylum applications have failed will have any
support removed, under the new measures. This is designed to
encourage more families to return to their home countries

However, as a result, the government would then be under an
obligation to take the children of asylum seekers made destitute by
the move, into care.

The bill also proposes measures to introduce electronic tagging
for asylum seekers awaiting removal as an alternative to detention.
Blunkett said this could be introduced in a year to 18 months’
time, and the Home Office is also set to introduce monitoring by
satellite, which could pinpoint asylum seekers’ exact

At the same time, the Department for Constitutional Affairs
(DCA) announced measures to reduce legal aid for asylum seekers to
five hours from May next year.

If a case is genuine and complex and requires additional time,
the Legal Services Commission could grant an extension. However, no
legal aid will be spent on an appeal unless the LSC certifies that
the case merits being pursued.

Under the DCA’s plans each asylum seeker will be given a
unique file number in a bid to prevent duplication of legal aid

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