Home Office pay out £45k over ‘illegal detention’ of trafficked man

The Home Office had to make two large payouts to trafficking victims who were illegally detained at Morton Hall immigration centre near Lincoln.

A trafficking victim, known as NN, was unlawfully detained in an immigration removal centre for more than five months. The victim was mistaken for another man who had been deported from the UK in 2011, according to The Guardian.

This follows a previous case where the Home Office and Ministry of Justice were ordered to make a payment to a teenager who was sexually assaulted and illegally detained at Morton Hall immigration centre

A Home Office spokesperson told The Linconlnite: “We do not routinely comment on individual cases.”

The case of NN

According to The Guardian, The Home Office initially refused to accept he was not another Vietnamese national, referred to in court as T. They only agreed to carry out fingerprint tests after NN’s lawyers threatened legal action.

The Home Office will now pay £45,000 in compensation after NN, who has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress syndrome and depression, accepted their offer.

NN was trafficked to the UK in 2016 via Hong Kong, Russia, Poland and France. He was held to ransom by trafficking gangs in the UK. He was allegedly beaten and told he would be killed if he tried to escape.

He was discovered at a cannabis farm in 2017 but was not identified as a potential victim of trafficking. He was instead charged and convicted for cannabis cultivation.

NN was sentenced to nearly 250 days in prison, but at the end of his criminal trial the judge ruled the Home Office had made a mistake.

He was detained at Morton Hall immigration detention centre after he left prison on the grounds he had breached his deportation order.

Mistaken identity

The Home Office maintained NN and T were the same person, despite staff at Mortan Hall comparing photos and informing them they had noticed differences between the two men.

After being assaulted in the detention centre NN was identified as an adult at risk and potential victim of torture. He should have been released under Home Office guidelines, but the Home Office used the details of T’s case to argue that detention should continue.

Law firm Duncan Lewis took on NN’s case and threatened legal action after he had been in detention for three months. He was placed into safe house accommodation after being identified as a potential victim of slavery and released from detention in July 2018.

The Home Office accepted they had made a mistake a month later, but reportedly continued to process NN’s trafficking claim under T’s name.

Not the first time

This is not the first time this year that the Home Office have paid out for a trafficking victim relating to Morton Hall.

It was reported by The Guardian last month that a child trafficking victim won £85,000 in compensation.

The Home Office must pay £82,000 to the Vietnamese national, known as H, after it reportedly admitted the teen was being detained illegally when a fellow inmate attempted to rape him in his cell in 2016.

The Ministry of Justice was also ordered to pay £3,000 for failing to protect H while was detained and for failing to launch an investigation after the assault.