An independent review of the UK Modern Slavery Act is finally in, and the verdict isn’t good.
The report’s authors write that the legislation is not strong enough to effectively combat modern slavery, urging ministers to act “quickly and effectively” to deal with the crime.
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In particular, the review recommends tougher action against perpetrators.
“Modern slavery is one of humanity’s greatest evils: involving human trafficking, forced labour, domestic servitude and sexual exploitation,” said review chairman Frank Field MP.
“But there are still sadly too few convictions being handed down for the new offences prosecuted under the act, and too few slavery and trafficking prevention and risk orders are in place to restrict offender activity.”
Sky News reports:
The report, co-led by Mr Field, Maria Miller MP and Baroness Butler-Sloss, makes 80 recommendations across four areas – the role of the independent anti-slavery commissioner, transparency in supply chains, independent child trafficking advocates and the legal application of the act.
Its findings have been welcomed by the minister for crime, safeguarding and vulnerability, Victoria Atkins, and independent anti-slavery commissioner Sara Thornton.
Ms Atkins said: “Sadly, modern slavery, forced labour and human trafficking are not evils of the past – they are with us today and their victims are hidden in plain sight.
“Through the Modern Slavery Act, the government is committed to ensuring victims get the support they need and perpetrators are brought to justice. We will be providing a full response to the review’s recommendations.”
“I support the need to ensure that businesses and government are doing all they can to exclude slavery from supply chains, the importance of providing improved support for all child victims of slavery and the importance of upholding my independence as I monitor the work of public authorities in fighting modern slavery and drive the UK’s response to protect the most vulnerable in our society,” added Thornton.
The independent review comes on the heels of arrests of county lines drug dealers who forced children to ferry drugs across Britain. The rise in county lines has been linked to the rise in the number of British children who are victims of modern slavery.