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A guide to Northern Ireland’s Human Trafficking and Exploitation Act 2015 - Chapter 4

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4. Assistance and Support under Part 3 of the Act (Sections 18 - 21)

In this chapter:

4.1  Assistance and Support pending Determination by Competent Authority (section 18)

4.2  Assistance and Support  for Exiting Prostitution (section 19)

4.3  Guidance as to Compensation for Victims (Section 20)

4.4  Independent Guardians for Minors (Section 21)


 4.1 Assistance and Support Pending Determination by a Competent Authority (section 18)


The Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings[1] (the Convention), ratified by the UK on 17 December 2008, identifies as one of its defining purposes the protection and support of victims of trafficking from a human rights based approach, within a comprehensive framework.[2] Article 12 sets out what support is required to assist with physical, psychological and social recovery, for example secure accommodation, material assistance, access to medical treatment and legal advice.

The Trafficking Directive on preventing and combating trafficking in human beings and protecting its victims 2011/36/EU (the Directive) was transposed into UK law on 6 April 2013.[3] Preamble 18 is clear that assistance and support are necessary for the individual “to be able to exercise their rights effectively” and that Members States should provide resources to enable this support to be freely available which should include “at least a minimum set of measures that are necessary to enable the victim to recover and escape from their traffickers”. Article 11 of the Directive proceeds to replicate the requirements enshrined in Article 12 of the Convention.

The National Referral Mechanism (NRM) is the UK’s policy based, national framework for identifying victims of human trafficking and ensuring they receive appropriate support and assistance.[4]  As support for potential victims of human trafficking is a devolved matter, the Department of Justice issued departmental guidance in relation to support for child[5]and adult[6] suspected victims and identified the support of victims as a strategic priority in the Northern Ireland Human Trafficking and Exploitation Strategy[7]

Section 18 of the Act places a statutory duty on the Department of Justice to provide assistance and support to adults who are potential victims of human trafficking, pending their determination. Whilst adult support and assistance within the NRM process has been in place for a number of years, putting these entitlements onto a statutory footing seeks to ensure that the rights of individuals proceeding through the trafficking identification process in Northern Ireland are given legal standing. In March 2016 the then Justice Minister, David Ford, announced that arrangements will now be put in place to extend the scope of the NRM to all victims of modern slavery, not just to those who have been trafficked[8].

  • Section18 (2) sets out the two eligibility criteria a person must satisfy in order to receive the support and assistance specified in S18:
  • Section 18(2)(a) provides that a person must be aged 18 or over. In cases where the age is uncertain, the Department must ‘reasonably believe’ that the person is aged 18 or over.[9]
  • Section 18(2)(b) states that an eligible person must have been referred, or is “about to be” referred, to the competent authority for a determination for the purposes of Article 10 of the Trafficking Convention, which is given effect within the UK’s NRM process.

Section18(3) sets out two conditions where the Department’s section 18 duties to provide assistance and support end:

  • Section18(3)(a) provides that the duty ends where a determination has been made that there are not reasonable grounds to believe that the person is a victim of trafficking;
  • Section 18(3)(b) provides that the duty ends where a conclusive determination has been made that the person is or is not a victim of trafficking in human beings.

If a positive conclusive determination as per section 18(3)(b) is made, the Department’s duty to provide assistance and support remains until the ‘relevant period’ has expired.

Section18(4) defines the ‘relevant period’ as the period of 45 days from the date on which the determination referred in section18(2)(b) is made by the competent authority. This is known as the NRM’s ‘reflection and recovery period’.

Article 11(1) of the Trafficking Directive provides that Member States have a duty to provide assistance and support for an ‘appropriate period of time’ after the conclusion of criminal proceedings, but the length of this period is not defined in the Directive. Article 13(1) of the Trafficking Convention requires parties to provide a recovery and reflection period of at least 30 days in law – the 45 day duration in section 18(4) is therefore more generous.

Section 18(5) places four general duties of assistance and support on the Department of Justice.

  • Section 18(5)(a) provides that assistance and support must not be conditional on a person acting as a witness in criminal proceedings.[10]
  • Section 18(5)(b) provides that assistance and support must only be provided with the agreement of the person concerned. This implements the requirements contained in the Trafficking Directive and Trafficking Convention that the State must provide the services on a “consensual and informed basis”.[11] The Convention’s Explanatory Report provides the following illustrative example as to why it is essential that potential victims agree to the services provided to them, “victims must be able to agree to the detection of illness such as HIV/AIDS for them to be licit”.[12]
  • Section 18(5)(c) provides that assistance and support must be provided in a way that takes “due account of the needs of that persons as regards safety and protection from harm”.[13] The safety and protection needs of potential victims of human trafficking can vary widely depending on their personal circumstances. The Trafficking Convention’s Explanatory Report explains that material factors in assessing this include the individual’s age and/or gender, the type of exploitation they have undergone, their country of origin, the types and degree of violence suffered, isolation from their family and culture, knowledge of the local language and their material and financial resources.[14]
  • Section 18(5)(d) provides that assistance and support must be provided to meet the assessed needs of the person concerned. It continues that the Department must have regard to “any special needs or vulnerabilities of that person caused by gender, pregnancy, physical or mental illness, disability or being the victim of serious violence or serious abuse”.[15]

The Trafficking Directive recognises the gender specific phenomenon of this form of exploitation and stipulates that the provision of support and assistance should also be gender specific where appropriate.[16] Section 18(6) of the Act therefore specifies that the gender of the person providing assistance and support must be the same as the person who receives it. In Northern Ireland, support and accommodation for female victims of human trafficking is provided by Women’s Aid Federation (NI) and by Migrant Help for male victims of human trafficking.

Victims who escape the control of their traffickers are often without access to material resources, tending to find themselves in a position of insecurity and vulnerability which requires state support to recover.[17]

The Directive and Convention set out a non-exhaustive set of measures “to assist victims in their physical, psychological and social recovery”[18] The requirements for assistance and support contained in section 18(7) of the Act are designed to implement these and are similarly ‘not restricted to’ the provisions referred to therein.

The support provisions set out in section 18(7) replicate some of those already stipulated in the Department of Justice service delivery contract with Women’s Aid Federation (NI) and Migrant Help.[19] The subsections in contained in section 18(7) provide the suggested list of assistance and support measures:

  • Section 18(7)(a) - appropriate and safe accommodation.
  • Section 18(7)(b) - material assistance (including financial assistance). The level of assistance is left undefined. The Directive and the Convention specify that the assistance and support provided must be capable of ensuring the ‘subsistence’ of the victims.[20]
  • Section 18(7)(c) - assistance in obtaining healthcare services (including counselling). Medical assistance is often required by victims of trafficking who have suffered violence.  Counselling can be particularly important for those who have experienced psychological trauma in the form of, for example, sexual exploitation.[21] The Convention requires the provision of ‘emergency medical treatment’,[22] ‘counselling’[23] and ‘necessary medical or other assistance to victims lawfully resident who territory without access to adequate resources.[24] Whereas the Directive is more generous, requiring the provision of ‘necessary medical treatment including psychological assistance, counselling and information…where appropriate’.[25]
  • Section 18(7)(d) - appropriate information on any matter of relevance or potential relevance to the particular circumstances of the person. The fact that helplessness and submissiveness to the traffickers due to fear and a lack of information about how to escape their situation are common features for victims of trafficking is widely recognised.[26] Both the Trafficking Directive and the Trafficking Convention require the provision of information to potential victims[27] which should provide victims with the opportunity to “evaluate their situation and make an informed choice from the various possibilities open to them”,[28] thereby seeking to restore a degree of agency to the individual victim. The Trafficking Convention states this must be made available to the victim “in a language that they can understand”[29] The Trafficking Convention’s Explanatory Report provides an indication of the type of information required:

“….on their legal rights and the services available to them, the availability of protection and assistance arrangements, the various options open to the victim, the risks they run, the requirements for legalising their presence in the Party’s territory, the various possible forms of legal redress, the operation of the criminal-law system operates (including the consequences of an investigation or trial, the length of a trial, witnesses’ duties, the possibilities of obtaining compensation from persons found guilty of offences or from other persons or entities, and the chances of a judgment’s being properly enforced)”.[30]

  • Section 18(7) (e) - translation and interpretation services. A significant proportion of suspected victims of trafficking in Northern Ireland who have been referred into the NRM do not speak English. The inability to communicate and understand exacerbates their isolation and prevents them from accessing their rights therefore making translation and interpretation services a prerequisite for access to justice and other services which victims of trafficking need. Both the Trafficking Directive and Trafficking Convention require the provision of ‘translation and interpretation services where appropriate’.[31]
  • Section 18(7)(f) - assistance in obtaining legal advice or representation. The Trafficking Convention provides for “legal assistance and free legal aid” to be made available to victims.[32] The NRM process is a complicated system which can involve a number of state agencies, (e.g. the Police Service of Northern Ireland, UK Visas & Immigration, and The Gangmasters Licensing Authority) which will want to interview the suspected victim. It is therefore essential that an individual progressing through the NRM has access to specialist legal advice and representation.  The Trafficking Directive specifically provides for free legal advice and representation, where eligible, “without delay” to be made available for victims involved in criminal investigations and proceedings[33]. The review of the scope of legal aid in 2014, Department of Justice retained immigration matters as being in-scope.[34]
  • Section 18(7)(g) - assistance with repatriation. The Trafficking Convention states that where a person is to be repatriated, ”such return shall be with due regard for the rights, safety and dignity of that person and for the status of any legal proceedings related to the fact that the person is a victim, and shall preferably be voluntary.”[35]

Section18(8) provides the Department of Justice with a discretionary power to continue to provide assistance and support to an individual even if they leave Northern Ireland. There is no guidance as to how such support would continue.

Section18(9) provides the Department of Justice with a discretionary power to continue to provide assistance and support in accordance with s18 of the Act, to an individual beyond the point where a positive conclusive determination has been made or where the ‘relevant period’ has expired (see section 18(4) above), where that is considered “necessary”.

Section18(10) states that nothing in section 18 affects individuals’ other existing entitlements to assistance and support under other statutory provisions.

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4.2 Assistance and Support for Exiting Prostitution (Section 19)

Section 19 (1), which commenced on Royal Assent, imposes a duty on relevant departments to publish a strategy “in relation to actions to be taken by NI Departments in the exercise of the respective functions to ensure that a programme of assistance and support is made available to persons whom they wish to leave prostitution.”

Section 19(2) required the publication of a strategy within 10 months of this section coming into effect, i.e. 13th November 2015.  In December 2015 the Department of Health  published “Leaving Prostitution: A Strategy for Help and Support”[36]

Section 19 (1) (b) required that a programme of support and assistance was made available no later than the 1st of April 2016.  In July 2016 the Department of Health published “Leaving Prostitution: A Programme of Assistance and Support” in accordance with section 19 of the 2015 Act[37]

Sections 19(3) and (4) set out the conditions under which the assistance and support must be provided to a person:

  • it is not conditional on the person acting as a witness in criminal proceedings;
  • it is provided only with the agreement of that person;
  • it is provided in a manner which takes due account of the needs of that person as regards safety and protection from harm;
  • this strategy must ensure that the assistance and support is offered from a person from the same gender as the person receiving it.

Paragraphs 4.2 and 7.1 of the Strategy replicate the above requirements.

Section 19 (5) requires the Department of Health to carry out a review of the strategy “at intervals of not more than 3 years”, and where appropriate publish a revised strategy.  These requirements are set out in paragraphs 7.6 and 8.1 of the Strategy. 

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4.3 Guidance as to compensation for Victims (Section 20)

Section 20 (1) imposes a duty on the Department of Justice to issue Guidance in relation to the procedures a person who has been recognised as a victim of human trafficking[38] must follow in order to apply for compensation under the Criminal Injuries (Compensation) (NI) Order 2002; the grounds on which compensation may be awarded and arrangements available to assist and support a person in making that application.  In compliance with this section, the Department of Justice published an English language guide[39] which sets out the definition of human trafficking, refers to the National Referral Mechanism and the purpose of compensation.  The Department of Justice has also published an advice sheet[40] which provides contact details for Victim Support and the Citizens Advice Bureau which may be able to assist the applicant with completing the form and also sets out the type of essential evidence which will be required. Both these documents are also available in Albanian, Romanian, Chinese and Bulgarian.

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4.4 Independent Guardian (Section 21)

Unaccompanied migrant children face a myriad of different, complex procedures, such as education, health and immigration, some involving difficult and important interviews with social workers, UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI), solicitors and the Police Service Northern Ireland (PSNI). Child victims of trafficking are particularly vulnerable. Many come to the attention of the authorities scared and confused, sometimes traumatised. Most do not speak English or know where they are and have limited understanding of the complicated proceedings they are involved in. Health and Social Care Trusts (HSCT) are responsible for accommodating and caring for the, if aged between 16 and a half and 18 years old a care order is rarely sought.

States have duties in international law to protect child potential victims of trafficking.  The Trafficking Convention[41] and the Trafficking Directive[42] highlight the particular vulnerabilities of this group of children and require a child-centred approach with procedural safeguards. To this end, the Trafficking Directive specifically requires States to take the necessary measures to ensure the appointment of a guardian in the case of all unaccompanied children who are suspected victims of trafficking.[43]

The UN Guidelines for the Alternative Care ofChildren[44] and the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child General Comment No 6[45] set out the roles and responsibilities of a guardian.Standards contained in the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child[46] (UNCRC) must be at the heart of any decision relating to a separated child, including the best interest principle[47] and the requirement that the views of the child are given a voice and respected[48] However, there is no commonly agreed definition of a guardian. In recognition of this gap, the European Commission and the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights carried out a comparative study[49] on practices across EU Member States with a view to assisting States in creating or reinforcing existing guardianship systems to provide better protection to all separated migrant children, with a particular focus on child victims of human trafficking.

Section 21 of the Act provides for the appointment an independent guardian to a child who is a victim, or a potential victim, of human trafficking, or who is determined to be a separated child. In this section all references to a victim of trafficking includes a suspected victim of trafficking.

The Act is the first instrument in the UK to introduce guardianship as a legal right for these children.

In compliance with the Trafficking Directive and Trafficking Convention[50], section 21(1) imposes a duty on the Regional Health and Social Care Board (HSCB) to make arrangements to enable the appointment of ‘independent guardians’ for children to whom this section of the Act applies.

Section21(2) provides that section 21 applies to children who meet two conditions:

  • a child must have been, or is about to be, referred into the UK’s trafficking identification process, the National Referral Mechanism (NRM),[51] and
  • there must not be an existing conclusive determination that the child is not a victim of human trafficking[52].

A negative determination that is being challenged by way of judicial review proceedings is not treated as conclusive until such proceedings have been finally determined.[53]

Section 21(3) states that the provisions contained in section 21 also apply to a child who appears to the HSCB to be a ‘separated child’, as defined in section 21(11).  The inclusion of separated children within the ambit of section 21 extends the protection of independent guardians beyond children who are suspected victims of human trafficking to another, broader vulnerable category of children and this subsection provoked debate in the Assembly as to whether the protection of all separated children in this way was out-with the scope of the Human Trafficking and Bill.[54] Trafficked children rarely self-identify and do not always disclose their experiences in detail when they first come into contact with the authorities, or at all in some cases. Research shows that a child is more likely to disclose experiences of exploitation to a person with whom they have a continuous secure and trusting relationship.[55] The Act provides for the appointment of a guardian to all separated children, whether referred into the NRM or not. Including all separated children as beneficiaries in this way is recognition of their particular vulnerability and in doing so the Act affords these children the space and protection to build a relationship with a single trusting adult, a constant point of contact, which may, where relevant, eventually enable them to disclose.

As well as endorsing Article 20(1) of the UNCRC[56], section 21(3) implements a recommendation by the Committee on the Rights of the Child that unaccompanied or separated children should benefit from the appointment of a guardian or adviser.[57]

Section 21(4) sets out several requirements for some of the arrangements, which must be made with a registered charity,[58] in order to enable the appointment of an independent guardian for each eligible child.[59] Guardians must be employees of the appointing charity and must also meet the qualification and training requirements set out in regulations in accordance with Section 21(5).[60]

It is recognised that guardianship is necessary where a child is accompanied by a person with parental responsibility but that person is suspected of having been involved in the trafficking of the child, or is otherwise unable to represent the child’s best interests[61]. Section 21(4) enforces this position by implementing the requirements contained in the Trafficking Directive to appoint a guardian for child victims of trafficking where the holders of parental responsibility for the child cannot ensure that the child’s best interest will be protected,[62] The Act therefore requires the appointment of an independent guardian where the person with parental responsibility for the child is either:

  • not in regular contact with the child or is outside the UK;[63]
  • is suspected of having committed an offence under section 2 of the Act in relation to the child[64] and is therefore suspected of being complicit in the trafficking of the child; or
  • for other reasons has interests which conflict with those of the child.[65]

Section 21(4)(e) stipulates that the arrangements must include provision for termination of the guardian’s role in the following circumstances:

  • if the child ceases to be eligible under section 21;[66]
  • when the child reaches the age of 18, unless section 21(10) applies where a child between the ages of 18 and 21 has consented to the continuation of guardianship;[67]
  • if section 21(4)(d) ceases to apply and the person with parental responsibility can ensure that the child’s best interests will be safeguarded;[68] or
  • if after consultation with the independent guardian, the HSCB concludes that the appointment is no longer necessary owing to the fact that long-term arrangements have been made for the child.[69]

These rules ensure that guardianship continues only as long as the individual circumstances of the child require it.

Section 21(5) places a duty on the Department of Health to make regulations concerning the training and qualifications which a person must hold in order to be eligible for appointment as an independent guardian, as well as the support and supervision which must be made available to them. These regulations were put out for public consultation in autumn 2015.[70]  The issue of whether the appointment of a registered social worker should be a mandatory requirement for the appointment as an independent guardian came before the Health Committee in March 2016[71] and the matter was not progressed for quite some time. An answer to a written question informs us that HSCB intends to award the contract for the provision of a guardianship service 1 April 2017 with the intention that it will be fully operational by 1 October 2017[72].

The duty for the independent guardian to act at all times in the best interests of the child, which is enshrined in section21(6) of the Act, is derived from the UNCRC’s ‘best interests principle’ which is in turn echoed in the Trafficking Convention and Trafficking Directive.[73]

In terms of the breadth of the role itself, section 21(7) sets out the ‘functions’ of the independent guardian:

  • Ascertaining and communicating the child’s views.[74]
  • Making representations to, and providing a link between the child and those bodies responsible for providing services to, or making decisions in relation to the child regarding accommodation, care, health, education as well as interpreting and translation services.[75]
  • Assist the child in obtaining legal advice and representation and, where necessary, appointing and instructing a legal representative.[76]
  • Consulting regularly with the child and keeping him or her informed of legal or other matters which affect them.[77]
  • Contributing to a plan to safeguard the child and promote his or her welfare based on an individual assessment of his or her best interests.[78]
  • Assisting in establishing contact with members of the child’s family where the child wishes and it is in their best interests.[79]
  • Accompanying the child to meetings and on other occasions.[80]

Significantly, following on from the stand alone requirement enshrined in section 21(6) that the guardian must “at all times” act in the child’s best interest, section 21(7) repeats this requirement thereby highlighting the importance of the UNCRC principle.[81] Further, the requirements that the guardian must ascertain and communicate the views of the child as well as consult regularly with the child reflect the UNCRC principle that the child’s voice should be heard and respected. This necessitates the development of a guardianship system, and relationship between the child and the guardian, which provides the child with the means to enable them to express their views in a way which is appropriate to their level of maturity. It encourages the adult to listen to the views and the wishes of chid and such a process complements the freedom of expression and association which these children are entitled to.[82]

In addition, these functions assist the implementation of a number of more specific requirements contained in the UNCRC, Trafficking Convention and the Trafficking Directive – including the need for States to provide child victims with access to free legal counselling and representation,[83] to take measures to find a durable solution for the child based on an individual assessment of need[84] and to ensure representation for children throughout any criminal proceedings.[85]

Notably, section21(7) provides the guardian with authority to appoint and instruct a legal representative, where necessary. It remains to be seen how the term “where necessary” will be applied, however, this provision will be of particular interest to lawyers acting on behalf of highly traumatised trafficked children who are unable to articulate the extent of their exploitation, where this inability could be detrimental to the child’s best legal interest.

Section 21(8) places a dual duty on any person or body providing services or taking administrative decisions in relation to a child who has been appointed an independent guardian to:

  • “recognise, and pay due regard to” the functions of the guardian; and
  • provide the guardian with “access to such information relating to the child as will allow the guardian to carry out his or her functions effectively”.

An administrative decision referred to in this section could relate to one taken by the PSNI, UKVI or a HSCT, however, it specifically excludes a decision taken by a court or tribunal.[86] Notwithstanding this exclusion, section21(8) ensures that the guardian is respected in his or her role, and in the majority of interactions is able to access the information necessary to carry out his or her functions in the best interest of the child.

Section 21(9) enables the Department of Health to introduce further regulations, if considered necessary, giving independent guardians additional functions to those specified in Section 21(7).

Section 21(10) provides that when a child turns 18, the role of the independent guardian may continue until the child reaches the age of 21, if the child consents. This goes beyond the requirements of the UNCRC, the Trafficking Convention and the Trafficking Directive, which impose no requirements for the care of children beyond the age of 18.

Section 21(11) defines terms used in section 21.  An ‘administrative decision’, referred to in section 21(8), excludes those decisions taken by a court or a tribunal. ‘Parental responsibility’, referred to in section 21(4)(d) incorporates the definition from Article 6 of the Children (Northern Ireland) Order 1995 other than parental responsibility which is conferred by a care order in accordance with the 1995 Order.

The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child defines separated children as those who “have been separated from both parents, or from their previous legal or customary primary caregiver, but not necessarily from other relatives”.[87] The Act does contain this requirement of separation from parents or person with responsibility for the child.  However it should be noted that the definition of ‘separated child’ provided by the Committee can be distinguished from that contained in Section 21(11) in that it contains two further stipulations requiring that:

  • the child is not ordinarily resident in Northern Ireland, and,
  • the child may be at risk of harm due to the separation.

Ordinarily Residence is defined in a 2000 Circular issued by the (then) DHSSPS[88]:

“A person is regarded as ordinarily resident if he/she is lawfully living in NI voluntarily and for a settled purpose as part of the regular order of his/her life for the time being. A person must have an identifiable purpose for his/her residence here and that purpose must have a sufficient degree of continuity to be properly described as settled. It is unlikely that anyone coming to live in NI and intending to stay for less than six months will fulfil these criteria.”[89]

The ‘risk of harm test’ contained in this definition excludes those children in NI who are in the company of adults who are not their parents or caregiver, and are at not at risk of harm, e.g. children who have arrived as visitors on a school trip.  This excludes their unnecessary inclusion under S21.

Section 21(12) clarifies that any other statutory provision which refers to the ‘guardian of a child’ does not refer to an independent guardian appointed under Section 21.

Section 21 was to be commenced on 15 November 2015, 10 months after the Act received Royal Assent. A guardianship system is not yet in place.

[2] Article 1(1) (b) Trafficking Convention

[9] Implements Article 11(2) Trafficking Directive.

[10] Implements Article 11(3) Trafficking Directive.

[11] Article 11(5) Trafficking Directive, Article 12(7) Trafficking Convention.

[12] Council of Europe, ‘Explanatory Report on the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings’ (2005), para 171.

[13] Implements Article 12(2) Trafficking Convention.

[14] Council of Europe, ‘Explanatory Report on the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings’ (2005), para 164.

[15] Implements Article (7) Trafficking Convention and Article 11(7) Trafficking Directive.

[16] Preamble 3 Trafficking Directive

[17] Council of Europe, ‘Explanatory Report on the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings’ (2005), para 146-163.

[18] Article 12(1) Trafficking Convention, Article 11(5) Trafficking Directive.

[19] Paragraph 5.2,Working Arrangements for the Welfare and Protection of Adults victims of Human Trafficking. (Department of Justice and DHSSPS, October 2012)

[20] Article 12(1)(a) Trafficking Convention, Article 11(5) Trafficking Directive.

[21] Council of Europe, ‘Explanatory Report on the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings’ (2005), para 156-157.

[22] Article 12(1)(b) Trafficking Convention.

[23] Article 12(1)(d) Trafficking Convention

[24] Article 12(3) Trafficking Convention.

[25] Article 11(5) Trafficking Directive.

[26] Council of Europe, ‘Explanatory Report on the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings’ (2005), para 159. Victims of Modern Slavery – Competent Authority Guidance – Version 3.0 (Home Office, 21 March 2016) Victims of Modern Slavery – Frontline Staff Guidance (Home Office, 18 March 2016).

[27] Article 12(1)(d) Trafficking Convention,  Article 11(5) Trafficking Directive.

[28] Council of Europe, ‘Explanatory Report on the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings’ (2005), para 160.

[29] Article 12(1)(d) Trafficking Convention.

[30] Council of Europe, ‘Explanatory Report on the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings’ (2005), para 160.

[31] Article 12(1)(c) Trafficking Convention, Article 11(5) Trafficking Directive

[32] Article 15(2) Trafficking Convention                     

[33] Article 12(2) Trafficking Directive

[34] Department of Justice NI Scope of Civil Legal Aid – A Consultation Report (March 2015) https://www.justice-ni.gov.uk/sites/default/files/publications/doj/post-consultation-report-on-scope-of-civil-legal-aid.pdf

[38] Section 20 (2)

[43] Article 16(3) Trafficking Directive

[44] http://www.unicef.org/protection/alternative_care_Guidelines-English.pdf. This document seeks to enhance the implementation of relevant international instruments in relation to the protection and well being

of children who do not benefit from parental care.

[47] Article 3 UNCRC

[48] Article 12 UNCRC

[50] Article 10(4) Trafficking Convention, Article 16(3).Trafficking Directive.

[51] Section 21(2)(a).

[52] Section 21(2)(b)

[53] Section 21(2)

[54] See the comments of David Ford, in NI Assembly Official Report 20/10/2014.

[56] Article 20(1) UNCRC requires States to provide special protection and assistance where a child has been deprived of his or her family environment. UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

[57] UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, ‘General Comment No. 6: Treatment of Unaccompanied and Separated Children Outside their Country of Origin’ (2005), para 33.

[58] Section 21(4)(a).

[59] Section 21(4)(b).

[60] Section 21(4)(c). 

[62] Article 14(2) Trafficking Directive.

[63] Section 21(4)(d)(i).

[64] Section 21(4)(d)(ii).

[65] Section 21(4)(d)(iii).

[66] Section 21(4)(e)(i).

[67] Section 21(4)(e)(ii).

[68] Section21(4)(e)(iii).

[69] Section21(4)(e)(iv).

[72] Minister of Health answer to written question by Lord Morrow of Clogher Valley in Northern Ireland AssemblyL: AQW 6475/16-21

[73] Article 3(1) UNCRC. Article 10(4)(a) & (c) Trafficking Convention. Articles 13(1), 14(2) &16(1) Trafficking Directive.

[74] Section 21(7)(a).

[75] Section 21(7)(b), (f).

[76] Section 21(7) (c).

[77] Section 21(7)(d).

[78] Section 21(7)(e).

[79] Section 21(7)(g).

[80] Section 21(7)(h).

[81] Articles 3(1) & 12 UNCRC.

[82] Articles 13 & 15UNCRC.

[83] Article 15(2) Trafficking Directive,

[84] Article 16(3) Trafficking Directive.

[85] Article 15(1) & (2), Article 16(4) Trafficking Directive.

[86] Section 21(11)

[87] UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, ‘General Comment No. 6: Treatment of Unaccompanied and Separated Children Outside their Country of Origin’ (2005), para 8.

[88] Department of Health Social Services and Public Safety (2000) Family health services for persons not ordinarily resident in Northern Ireland, Circular HSS(PCD) 10/2000. (DHSSPS) 

[89] In September 2014, the (then) DHSSPS committed itself to issuing guidance to accompany new healthcare regulations (Provision of Health Services to Persons not Ordinarily Resident Regulations (NI) 2015). This guidance might introduce new terminology introduced through changes to immigration law.


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© Law Centre (NI) 2017


Disclaimer - Although every effort is made to ensure the information in Law Centre publications is accurate, we cannot be held liable for any inaccuracies and their consequences. The information should not be treated as a complete and authoritative statement of the law.

Law Centre (NI) only operates within Northern Ireland and the information in this document is only relevant to Northern Ireland law. 

When reading Law Centre documents, please pay attention to their date of publication as legislation may have changed since they were published.


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