UK National Trafficking Referral Mechanism (NRM)
The UK ratified the UN Convention Against Human Trafficking in 2008 and this included signing up to a new national referral mechanism, a process to help frontline staff identify victims of trafficking and offer them support. The UK National Referral Mechanism (NRM) was introduced in 2009.
In order to be recognised as a victim of trafficking and slavery via the NRM people are referred to the UK Human Trafficking Centre who should decide within 5 days that there are ‘reasonable grounds’ for assuming that they are victims. They are then given 45 days for reflection and recovery when they can decide what they want to do and whether they feel that they can co-operate with the police or not. They are helped with accommodation.
If they are given a positive decision they are allowed to stay in the country for at least a year, have access to benefits and are allowed to work. They may get an extension especially if a criminal investigation is taking a long time. Some people want to go home and can be helped to do so. If they get a negative decision the Home Office may help them to go home if they have no other right to stay. Some people may also apply for asylum in the UK because of fear of persecution if they return home.
The Home Office, local authorities, the health trusts and the PSNI can refer potential victims in N Ireland.