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Welby supports ‘slavery law’

11 April 2014


Steve McQueen, whose film 12 Years a Slave won the Best Picture Oscar last month, has welcomed the report. In a statement released by the committee, he said that Britain could be "justifiably proud" of its anti-slavery tradition and that the authors of the report "honourably stand in that tradition . . . They have grasped the complexity of contemporary trafficking and forced labour in the United Kingdom and have set forth clearly the fundamentals of what is necessary to tackle it effectively."

Steve McQueen, whose film 12 Years a Slave won the Best Picture Oscar last month, has welcomed the report. In a statement released by the committee,...

THE report of a parliamentary committee into a proposed modern-slavery law has been welcomed by charities, and by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The Parliamentary Joint Select Committee on Modern Slavery published its report on the draft slavery Bill on Tuesday.

Among the improvements it recommended were: creating separate offences for exploiting and trafficking children; strengthening the scheme to recover the profits of slavery from traffickers; and ensuring that the new post of Anti-Slavery Commissioner was independent.

The report, by a committee of MPs and peers - including the Bishop of Derby, the Rt Revd Alastair Redfern - also suggested putting victims' rights on a statutory basis, and working to make sure that no goods or services produced by slaves elsewhere in the world could be sold in the UK.

In a statement, Archbishop Welby said that the committeehad made a significant contribution to the anti-slavery campaign in Britain: "This pioneering Bill setsa high standard for governments around the world, who will be watching to see how our Government handles the issue of modern slavery.

"The launch of the Global Freedom Network last month showed that people of faith are determined to contribute to combating modern slavery and human trafficking (News, 21 March).

"I very much hope that the Home Office, as it prepares to publish its own Bill on modern slavery, will take the committee's recommendations extremely seriously."

The intention to give every child rescued from human trafficking an independent legal guardian has also been praised by the Children's Society.

The charity's chief executive, Matthew Reed, said: "Thousandsof children are found each year on their own, including many whoare fleeing war and violence. With no adult to protect their interests, many have been left at risk of abuse, or facing a hostile climate of suspicion and doubt, which denies them the help and protection they need.

"This important move will help make sure that trafficked children are treated first and foremost as children in need."

The Home Secretary, Theresa May, announced plans to createnew anti-trafficking laws in August last year, and the Government's draft Bill was published in December (News, 20 December).

A report by the Labour MP Frank Field, published at the same time, suggested that there were as manyas 10,000 people held in slavery in the UK today.

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