UK BME Anti-Slavery Network(BASNET)-November 2021

An expert conversation on the plight of BME LGBTQI Community to sexual exploitation and modern slavery

The UK BME Anti-Slavery Network (BASNET) established by AFRUCA is the first network in the UK and in Europe dedicated to promoting equality, inclusion and diversity in the anti-trafficking and anti-slavery space. Our Network members are registered charities or community interest companies working in diaspora communities affected by modern slavery.

BASNET partnered with two of its full members( House of Rainbow and African Rainbow Family) to organise a one(1) hour conversation to explore the numerous issues around sexual exploitation and modern slavery of LGBTQI individuals in UK. In recent times, there have been unreported cases of service users who are trafficked and exploited based on their sexual orientation and gender identity from foreign countries. These individuals are exploited sexually and for labour. The conversation focused on the intricacies of these sexual exploits of the BME LGBTQ community in UK. According to the Devon Safeguarding Adults Partnership, Adult Sexual Exploitation (ASE) is a ‘form of sexual abuse that involves someone taking advantage of an adult, sexually, for their own benefit through threats, bribes, and violence’.

BASNET recognises the lack of research and data to back these growing concerns and the stigma and shame attached to victims who eventually come forward.  In interviewing various survivors prior to this event, it became evident how perpetrators of trafficking and modern slavery are monetising the distrust of communities and the lack of protection and support for LGBTQ individuals to exploit their vulnerabilities. In 2018, The African Rainbow Family explored another dimension of sexual exploitation of LGBTQ asylum seekers. The report of the conference shows the various gaps within the UK system and the how the UK system fails to protect LGBTQ victims of human trafficking and modern slavery.

The event therefore sought to highlight two dimensions of sexual exploitation of LGBTQI individuals from foreign countries into the UK: those trafficked into the UK for exploitation and those exploited and abused by others as refugees and asylum seekers- especially by those claiming to help

We hope that through this conversation, we will explore the realities on the ground, any up to date trends related to modern slavery and sexual exploitation, share experiences of LGBTIQ survivors and review the outcomes of ARF’s 2018 report. In the end, we hope to make some recommendations and probable way forward.

Read the full report here