Tuesday 2nd – Wednesday 3rd November 2021
The SSHD appeals the order of Kerr J of 24 May 2021 by which he declared that the SSHD’s payment of additional financial support to victims of human trafficking who have dependent children and who are in receipt of mainstream benefits and/or lawfully in work breached Article 14 ECHR read with Article 4 and Article 1 of the First Protocol because the non payment of such additional financial support to victims of human trafficking who had dependent children and are in receipt of asylum support (a) unjustifiably directly discriminated against those in receipt of asylum support compared to those in receipt of mainstream benefits or in work, and (b) unjustifiably indirectly discriminates against women.
By the same order Kerr J ordered damages for financial loss and non-pecuniary damages to compensate for the distress caused by the discrimination (the amount to be agreed or determined by the County Court), and awarded costs in favour of the Respondents.
The Respondents are single mothers from Albania who have been conclusively found to be victims of sex trafficking. They sought asylum and were both recognised as refugees. Because they were in receipt of asylum support, they did not receive financial support under the provisions of the Modern Slavery Victim Care Contract in respect of their dependent children but would have done so if they had been in receipt of other benefits or in work.
The SSHD argued that this was due to a mistake and that the relevant amount should have been deducted from any mainstream benefits. The SSHD characterised the difference as a windfall in favour of those who received the additional payment as a result of oversight. It is argued that the Respondents do not require compensation because they are being paid what the SSHD reasonably considered that everyone should have been paid.
Lower Court Judgment: