Home Office ordered to pay damages to sex-trafficking victim


A woman who alleged that she was trafficked into the UK by an abusive partner who forced her into prostitution and was later locked up in an immigration detention centre, has been awarded substantial damages from the Home Office for unlawful detention. 

The woman, known as ZV, who is of Lithuanian origin, said she was beaten, forcibly injected with heroin and forced into prostitution for some eight years. Further, it is alleged that during the period in which she was controlled by her trafficker, she committed a “string of petty shoplifting offences at his direction” for which she received convictions. In 2017 she was convicted of cannabis possession and was transferred to an immigration detention centre where she was held for five months. The judge ruled that ZV was entitled to substantial damages for 45 days’ unlawful detention rather than the full length of time she was held at the detention centre. 

Samantha Knights QC and Zoe McCallum were instructed by Duncan Lewis on behalf of the claimant. 

Press coverage here.

Full judgment summary here.