74. On the other hand, the Government has expressed
concerns about the Convention. For instance, it fears that the
automatic granting of recovery and reflection periods and residence
permits may act as a "pull factor" to the UK.
By this the Government means that they may provide incentives
to those who are not victims of trafficking to make false claims
of such status, circumvent immigration control, and obtain benefits
deceptively. In support
of this argument the Government claims that whenever new schemes,
laws and policies granting leave to remain have been introduced
in the past, they have always been abused by some.
75. In addition, the Government states that abusive
claims will have a negative impact on the limited resources available
to investigate and prosecute traffickers and support victims.
The Government also argues that introduction of reflection periods
may have the effect of causing delays in investigating crimes
of trafficking while victims decide whether or not to co-operate,
endangering others being exploited by traffickers or resulting
in the loss of vital evidence.
76. Pointing out that a system of granting automatic
reflection and recovery periods and residence permits is a relatively
new initiative across Europe, the Government argues that there
is no evidence to suggest that the case-by-case approach currently
taken by the UK is in any way less effective at offering targeted
support. In view
of all these factors, the Government claims that it requires more
time to assess the system before reaching a conclusion. Later
in this Report, we go on to report on the experience of Italy
as an example of a country that has provided for residence permits
over a number of years.