GCN’s Lucy Mair yesterday represented an Albanian victim of trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation at her asylum appeal in the first tier tribunal. The appellant had previously received a negative conclusive grounds decision from the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) on the basis that her account was not considered plausible or consistent. The appellant asked the tribunal to decide for itself whether she was a VOT, on the basis of AS (Afghanistan) v Secretary of State for the Home Department  EWCA Civ 1469.
The appellant argued that the NRM’s decision was unlawful and relied upon the case of R (on the application of AB) v Secretary of State for the Home Department (SSHD)  EWHC 1490 (Admin), where the Admin Court held that there was an unlawful failure to engage with the findings of a report from trafficking support Organisation Ashiana. The appellant in the instant case also relied upon an Ashiana report which concluded that she had been trafficked to the UK and on medical evidence diagnosing her with complex PTSD and a depressive adjustment disorder and found her account of events to be consistent with her clinical presentation.
The judge relied extensively on the case of AB in her determination and quoted from the judgement at para 40:
"The opinions of experienced and respected support Organisations who have worked with potentially trafficked persons for some time are likely to provide important assistance to a decision maker in coming to his/her conclusions."
The judge stated: “I take into account that the reports were not considered and therefore in line with R (on the application of AB) v Secretary of State for the Home Department  EWHC 1490. I am satisfied that the Respondent has not therefore made a lawful decision as she had failed to take into account her own policies in relation to obtaining and considering evidence.”
Ultimately the first tier tribunal judge found that the conclusive grounds decision was unlawful, that the appellant was a VOT and allowed her asylum and human rights claim.
The client in the FTT case was represented by Lucy Mair.
27th may 2015 - Unlawful for Home Office to ignore expert evidence in trafficking decisions - Lucy Mair guest commentary on R (on the application of AB) v Secretary of State for the Home Department  EWHC 1490 for Free Movement blog