The process of being rescued from a situation of exploitation can be very overwhelming for survivors of modern slavery. As a first responder you may be the first person that a survivor encounters in this process. It is important to prioritise a survivor’s basic needs at all stages of the referral process. This means making sure that survivors always have access to the following:
Food and drinks – Survivors should be given a choice of foods and first responders should consider dietary requirements.
An opportunity to wash themselves.
A clean change of clothes – Including underwear and pyjamas.
Breaks from interviews or conversations – relating trafficking or slavery experiences can be very draining and traumatic for survivors. First responders should keep reminding survivors that they can pause or terminate conversations at any time.
Rest – survivors should be fully rested before making decisions about their future like the NRM. First responders should try to accommodate survivors in specialist supported accommodations and if this is not possible, should allow survivors to rest in a hotel or B&B.
Medical attention – anyone in the UK can receive emergency or primary medical care regardless of their immigration status. Survivors should be asked how they are feeling and if they require medical assistance by first responders.
Ability to speak with a trusted contact – survivors should be allowed to contact loved ones to tell them that they are safe. First responders should monitor this closely to ensure that the survivor is not putting themselves at risk by doing so. For example, risk of contacting those related to their exploitation or revealing their whereabouts.
WMASN recommends 10 days of pre-NRM support to allow the survivor to fully understand the NRM and to be in the best state of mind to consent or not to the NRM. The Home Office recommends a 3-day period of pre-NRM support.