THE draft Modern Slavery Bill unveiled by the Government this
week introduces maximum life sentences for human traffickers for
the first time, and would create a new post of anti-slavery
The draft Bill was published on the same day as a report into
modern-day slavery by the Labour MP Frank Field, who was
commissioned by the Home Secretary, Theresa May, to examine modern
slavery in the UK. Mr Field published his findings on Monday,
estimating that there were 10,000 slaves in the UK.
Mr Field said that the report had been "shaped by the evidence
we received from victims of modern slavery. The Home Secretary, by
establishing this Review, has shown that her draft Bill will be
informed by our recommendations, and signals how serious her intent
Mr Field's report calls for better protection for victims; a
new, distinct child-trafficking offence; seizure of the profits
made by traffickers; and a new measure to force multi-nationals to
disclose what they are doing to eradicate slavery from their supply
Other suggestions include the creation of a guardianship scheme
to look after child victims of trafficking, a measure that was
backed by the Children's Society. Its chief executive, Matthew
Reed, said: "Without guardianship being included in the Bill,
trafficked children will not get the help they need."
The Christian charity Care also called for a system of guardians
for trafficked children. It said that, of the 942 trafficked
children rescued between 2005 and 2010, 301 later went missing from
local-authority care. "Without child-trafficking guardians in
place, the expectation, shared by Care, is that large numbers of
children will continue to be re-trafficked," the charity said.
The chief executive officer of the anti-trafficking group Hope
for Justice, Ben Cooley, said: "The Modern Slavery Bill is a strong
signal to traffickers that we won't tolerate their terrible trade
in human lives. Today, we must also be the voice of victims; so
we're calling on the Church to help make sure that victim
protection is at the heart the final Bill."
Pope Francis this week denounced human trafficking. In comments
to ambassadors at the Vatican, he said: "Human trafficking is a
crime against humanity. We must unite our efforts to free victims
and stop this crime . . . that threatens not just individuals, but
the foundational values of society."