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Step Up Migrant Women

"All women who step foot on British soil, regardless of where she is from originally, belongs to, and should be the responsibility of, the UK Government."

Halaleh Taheri
MEWSo Founder and Executive Director



Fighting to Protect

Migrant Women

Step Up Migrant Women (SUMW) is a coalition of over 50 charities and organisations, led by the Latin American Women’s Rights Service.

We all need protection when our lives are severely disrupted for whatever reason, and we hope very much that that protection will be forthcoming. 
In SUMA, we lobby Government, and work to change the negative narrative in the media, to help protect vulnerable women from abuse and violence, and fight for their human rights, while their immigration status is uncertain.

Read SUMA's Super Complaint with Government proposals that will continue to make it likely that migrants reporting crime will also be at risk of being deported.


The Plight of Migrant Women

  • Thousands of migrant women are frequently the victims of sexual exploitation, domestic slavery, domestic abuse and violence.

  • Abusers threaten to report them to immigration or have their children taken away if they go for help.

  • Many have their passports hidden or taken away from them, and they are prevented from applying to the Home Office to resolve their insecure immigration status themselves.

  • The hostility towards ethnic minority immigrants, migrants or asylum seekers, is frequently exploited by governments rather than dispelled, so they continue to be seen as criminals rather than as victims of crimes.

  • Their Human Rights are ignored leaving them no way to escape.

  • Migrant women are barred from refuges or safe havens because they have no rights to benefits.

  • The only choice for many migrant women is to stay with the abuser/s and continue to be exploited and abused, or leave and be homeless, destitute or even killed.

The Campaign

SUMA wants:

  • To create a 'firewall' of policies and procedures that separate the reporting of crime from the enforcement of immigration controls.

  • To enable any woman with an insecure immigration status, suffering abuse and domestic violence, to report her abuser/s without fear of being detained, deported, made destitute, or losing custody of her children.

  • To build trust in the police by making sure women's safety aways comes first.

  • To ensure the police take crimes against migrant women seriously rather than see them first as criminals rather than victims.

  • For the Government to include migrant women in any legislation to combat domestic abuse and violence, and make sure they punish the abusers and not their victims.


"By not recognising the barriers that currently prevent migrant women  from reporting their abusers, the Government will continue to leave them unprotected. This is despite SUMW providing testimonies of the harm done to migrant women."

Halaleh Taheri

MEWSo Founder and Executive Director

We Can Help

  • Advise you of your rights 

  • Advise you on how to Stay Safe

  • Support you in becoming independent

  • Collaborate with other charities and organisations to get you the help you need

If you or a friend are suffering abuse or exploitation

Call: 07780 983 152


If you are in immediate danger, call 999 and speak to the police.

Add Your Voice to the Campaign

See MEWSo's online conference: Violence, Slavery OR Deportation: The Plight of Migrant Women in the UK, 2020, on our YouTube channel.

Picture: Zrinka Bralo, CEO of Migrants Organise

Safety Before Status

Safety Before Status

Migrant women have not been included in the Domestic Abuse Bill, after much campaigning by MEWSo and others. However, the Safety Before Status report, from the Domestic Abuse Commissioner, which was set up by Government, sets out a number of actions it expects Government and agencies to follow in order to properly protect migrant women from abuse and violence.

And, MEWSo will continue to campaign to make sure these actions are not ignored.

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