The Bill builds on the work of the previous Labour Government who criminalised trafficking, introduced the offence of forced labour, slavery or servitude and created the UK Human Trafficking Centre.
I participated in a House of Commons debate on the Bill this week and you can read my questions to Home Secretary Theresa May here.
Measures in the Bill will make it easier to prosecute those committing this vile crime and increases the penalties for those convicted. I also support the introduction of a new Slavery Commissioner, the new trafficking prevention orders and greater protections for victims.
The Shadow Frontbench believe that the Bill could go further and will be tabling amendments during the Bill’s Committee Stage that will give greater support for victims; introduce full legal guardians for children; a separate offence of child exploitation; change the domestic workers’ visa; and include provisions around the supply chains of companies operating in the UK.
Modern Slavery Bill shd amend UK Companies Act to require companies to report how they are addressing modern slavery in their supply chain
— Mark Lazarowicz (@marklazarowicz) July 8, 2014
These developments represent an important opportunity but I want to see it amended to get further improvements and safeguards in place in order to stop people committing these terrible crimes. A Joint Committee of Lords and Commons published its Reporton the Bill on 8 March 2014 calling for the Bill to be strengthened, with more protection for children, enhanced legal support and compensation for victims.