Updates, commentary, training and advice on immigration and asylum law

Authorities rescue Vietnamese nail bar slave, send her straight back to captor


Older content is locked

A great deal of time and effort goes into producing the information on Free Movement, become a member of Free Movement to get unlimited access to all articles, and much, much more


By becoming a member of Free Movement, you not only support the hard-work that goes into maintaining the website, but get access to premium features;

  • Single login for personal use
  • FREE downloads of Free Movement ebooks
  • Access to all Free Movement blog content
  • Access to all our online training materials
  • Access to our busy forums
  • Downloadable CPD certificates

… when a young Vietnamese person is found living in a room with a padlock on the outside of the door, describes working for no payment in a nail bar, gives a vague account of apparently chance encounters with a series of Vietnamese persons as part of her journey and provides no suggestion as to how she might have paid for her passage from Vietnam, it is difficult to see how such an account did not provide to… social workers possible indicators of… being the victim of trafficking.

So says Hugh Mercer QC, sitting as a deputy High Court judge in a judicial review challenge by a young Vietnamese woman. The case is HJ v London Borough of Croydon [2021] EWHC 66 (Admin)

The social workers in question were from Greenwich council rather than Croydon. They interviewed HJ on the same day she was discovered by police with a view to assessing her age. HJ was not informed of the purpose of the interview, which deemed her to be over 18. She was then released on immigration bail — straight back to her padlocked room, where she stayed for another five days.

Sense has since prevailed and HJ is now in foster care, but Greenwich and Croydon have been passing the buck on responsibility for supporting her for the past year. The judge ultimately put the onus on Croydon: “I cannot accept that the Defendant was entitled to refuse to assess the needs of HJ on the basis of the preliminary assessment of age by [Greenwich]”.

Relevant articles chosen for you
Picture of CJ McKinney

CJ McKinney

CJ McKinney is a specialist on immigration law and policy. Formerly the editor of Free Movement, you will find a lot of articles by CJ here on this website! Twitter: @mckinneytweets.


One Response

  1. Sadly, in USA too.

    Two children were recovered multiple times during the operation, the FBI said, noting it’s not uncommon for rescued victims to return to commercial sex trafficking “either voluntarily or by force, fraud, or coercion.”