The National Referral Mechanism (NRM) – the process by which putatively trafficked persons are identified as 'trafficked' or 'not trafficked' – has been subject to widespread criticism since its inception in 2009. In late 2014, the Home Office published a Review of the NRM, which identified numerous shortcomings of the current system, and proposed a new model, to be piloted in two parts of the UK until at least September 2016. This article draws upon qualitative data from semi-structured interviews with individuals who are involved in the identification of victims, and provides an analysis of the problems with the current system which specifically relate to the organisations involved in identifying victims – First Responders, and Competent Authorities. Furthermore, this article examines whether the design of the pilot will in fact remedy any of the problems inherent in the current system, and essentially concludes that not only is the current system deficient, displaying inter alia an overemphasis on immigration status, but that the proposed new system is unlikely to remedy all of the problems identified and that it will in fact create problems of its own.
Elliott, J. (2016). The National Referral Mechanism: Querying the response of 'first responders' and the competence of 'competent authorities'. Tottels Journal of Immigration Asylum and Nationality Law, 30(1), 9-30