Judicial review challenges refusal of discretionary leave to remain to a victim of trafficking

Friday 2 August 2019

Maha Sardar of Garden Court represented the applicant in the Upper Tribunal where permission was granted to judicially review the Home Office decision. She was instructed by Duncan Lewis.

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The applicant, Nancy Esiovwa, was trafficked to the UK from Nigeria ten years ago and held as a slave in a family house in Bedfordshire. She was beaten and forced to work without pay. In 2014, the Home Office identified Nancy as a victim of modern slavery. Shortly afterwards she ended up street homeless as a result of lack of support, and faced violence and assault. 

Esiovwa is currently taking the Home Office to court over their decision to reject her application for discretionary leave to remain, despite her being identified as a victim of trafficking. Her legal team argues that the Home Office has failed in its legal obligation to consider her trafficking status and right to access ongoing counselling and mental health services. Quoted in the Guardian, Esiovwa said:

"Even though the government has accepted I've been a victim of slavery, they have just seen me as an immigration problem that they want to get rid of.

"My mental health has been deteriorating and I'm very scared of being sent back to Nigeria, where my traffickers are waiting for me... But I want my life back. I want to do good for myself and others who have gone through the same experiences. I have to believe that my life can get better, and this is my last chance."

If successful, the judicial review could pave the way for others to force the Home Office to reconsider their case. 

This case has been reported in the Guardian.

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