About the NRM
The National Referral Mechanism was set up in 2009 by the Government to identify, support, protect and promote the rights of victims of trafficking in the UK. It is a framework by which the Government meets their legal obligations under the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Human Trafficking.
If someone is identified as a victim of trafficking through the NRM then the framework provides them with:
- Safe accommodation and material assistance
- Medical treatment and care
- Counselling and emotional support
- Advice on immigration and legal rights and services
- Advice on the criminal justice system
- Guidance on education, training, and employment
- 45-day ‘reflection period' when a person cannot be removed from the UK. The recovery period is intended to give the victim time to recover and escape the influence of traffickers and/or to take an informed decision on cooperating with the authorities
- 1-year residence permit if the victim is cooperating with the police
- Ensuring any return to the home country is safe and dignified
It is important to note that:
To access these services the referral is voluntary and can happen only if the potential victim gives their permission by signing the referral form. You cannot refer a victim by completing the form on their behalf.
Unlike adults, children do not need to consent to their referral but the child should be informed as to why a referral is being made and kept informed of decisions through their appointed representative.
What if the referred person is not found to be a victim of human trafficking?
If at any stage the referred person is considered not to be a victim of trafficking then dependent on the circumstances they may be referred to the appropriate law enforcement agency - the relevant police force or the UK Border Agency.
If it is decided by the UKBA that the person was not trafficked, and there are no other circumstances that would give them a right to live in the UK, they will be offered support to voluntarily return to their country of origin. The person can also be offered support to return to their country if they have been trafficked and do not wish to stay in the UK.
If someone fears return to their country it might be appropriate that they first speak to an immigration advisor before considering being referred through the NRM.
You can read the Council of Europe Convention for further information about:
- Identification of victims - Article 10
- Assistance to victims - Article 12
- Recovery - Article 13
- Residence permits - Article 14
- Repatriation and return of victims - Article 16