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Question for Home Office

UIN HL7681, tabled on 9 May 2018

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the effect of an increased use of technology at the border on safeguarding people from modern slavery.

Answered on

23 May 2018

Border Force has a role in identifying victims and perpetrators of modern slavery as they arrive in the UK. At the primary checkpoint, Border Force Officers have the unique advantage of being the first point of contact with UK authorities for many vulnerable children and adults as well as the criminals who traffic them.

New technological capabilities such as eGates offer a high standard of identification verification.

Border Force has developed an additional layer of security, by deploying roving officers in front of the eGates observing and interacting with passengers. At smaller ports an extra message appears when a child uses the gate and halts the transaction until the monitoring Border Force Officer is satisfied there are no safeguarding concerns.

Where there are concerns, including safeguarding, passengers are directed to a manual control for further questioning.

Furthermore, all freight vehicles and a percentage of tourist vehicles entering the UK through the juxtaposed controls are screened for people being smuggled into the UK using a range of techniques. This includes using carbon dioxide detectors and motion sensors as well as sniffer dogs to detect clandestines who are potentially victims of trafficking. Border Force have upgraded the heartbeat monitors , which are now called motion detectors (Clantect) as these detect more than just heartbeats.

Whilst not uniquely a result of technology, BF internal performance data shows a significant increase in identification of potential victims of Modern Slavery during this current year

Answered by

Home Office