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Act to combat modern slavery, Bishop of Bristol tells Government

21 October 2022

Clive Mears/Church Times

The Bishop of Bristol, the Rt Revd Vivienne Faull, speaks during a debate on human trafficking at a meeting of the General Synod in Church House, Westminster, in February

The Bishop of Bristol, the Rt Revd Vivienne Faull, speaks during a debate on human trafficking at a meeting of the General Synod in Church House, West...

THE former Home Secretary, Suella Braverman, was wrong to say that modern-slavery laws were being abused by people “gaming the system”, the Bishop of Bristol, the Rt Revd Vivienne Faull, has said.

In an article published on the Church Times website on Tuesday, Anti-Slavery Day, before Mrs Braverman resigned, Bishop Faull referred to Mrs Braverman’s speech at the Conservative Party Conference this month, in which the former Home Secretary said: “The hard truth is that our modern-slavery laws are being abused by people gaming the system. We’ve seen a 450-per-cent increase in modern-slavery claims since 2014.”

Bishop Faull wrote: “These statements increase damaging suspicion of genuine modern slavery victims, and they have also been found to be dubious.”

Bishop Faull also criticised the Government for failing to appoint its next Anti-Slavery Commissioner. “It is essential that this post is filled to allow the important work of monitoring the modern slavery sector, detecting and prosecuting offences, and maintaining essential relationships can continue at full capacity,” she writes.

She also wrote that the Nationality and Borders Act (News, 11 March) made it “significantly more challenging” for victims of modern slavery to access support services.

The Bishop commended the Clewer Initiative’s Make It Slavery Free campaign, which is “calling on churches, businesses, and individuals to deliver three anti-slavery actions this year”.

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