Shildon MP Helen Goodman wrote to Home Secretary Amber Rudd MP following the Home Office’s “grotesque” decision to refuse asylum to a survivor of child trafficking and modern slavery.
Stephen (not his real name), now aged 19, has had his application for Asylum and Humanitarian Protection refused. Following the death of his only relative when he was 8 years old Stephen was homeless and living on the streets of Vietnam forced to collect rubbish from the streets to survive. Aged 10 he was picked up by a criminal gang and trafficked to the UK where he was held and made to work as a slave.
Rescued at the age of 16 Stephen, with the support of his foster parents Reverend David and Davina Tomlinson, finished his education and applied for asylum in the UK. As a converted Christian Stephen would be at great risk of persecution in Vietnam, a one party communist state which recently adopted new law limiting freedom of religion. He would be expected to return without any familial support, only a school education and less than £50 in his pocket. Dismissing Stephen’s vulnerability the Home Office has just called no room at the inn.
David, who has been working in the Parish of Saint John's in Shildon since 2009 said:
“Stephen’s basic human rights have been trampled on, firstly by a cruel and disinterested communist state that allows its children to be abused by criminals, and secondly by the British state in reinforcing this by first rescuing, then discarding him. I believe we are a better nation than this and call on the Home Office to urgently review its procedures to allow the abused and marginalised to flourish. All Stephen wants to do is to work and to give back to this country who he considers has saved his life “
Helen Goodman MP said: “I am genuinely shocked by this decision and I wrote to the Home Secretary to urge her to intervene in this case. It is clear that the government’s current assessment of asylum applications by victims of trafficking and modern slavery is wholly inadequate. It is clear that if he is returned to Vietnam Stephen would once again become a victim of a state failure to protect his human rights – this time it would be the UK government letting him down.”