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Modern Slavery Bill (Draft) 2013-14

Pending bill

Summary

  • Type of Bill:

    Government Bill

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Summary

The draft Bill was announced by the Home Secretary on 16 December 2013, in a statement to Parliament. It will apply to England and Wales, with further discussions to be held as to whether the Bill will cover all of the United Kingdom. The draft Bill will be examined by a joint committee.

It aims to consolidate and simplify existing slavery and trafficking offences to provide clarity and focus when investigating and prosecuting traffickers.

The draft Bill allows for:

  • Increasing the maximum sentence available from the current 14 years to life imprisonment.
  • The introduction of Slavery and Trafficking Prevention Orders (STPOs) and Slavery and Trafficking Risk Orders (STROs), in order to restrict the activity of those posing a risk and those convicted of slavery and related trafficking offences.
  • The establishment of a legal duty to report victims of modern slavery to the National Crime Agency, which will reveal more information about trafficking crimes.
  • The creation of a Anti-Slavery Commissioner role, to assist law enforcers in tackling modern slavery.

In December 2013, the Home Secretary announced the establishment of a Modern Slavery Unit in the Home Office, in order to liaise with the National Referral Mechanism in the identification, protection and support of victims of human trafficking.

Labour have welcomed the Bill but have called for it to be "an opportunity to end the suffering of victims, particularly children".

However, the charity, Anti-Slavery International, have criticised the Bill for lacking provisions for victim protection and see the Bill as "a missed opportunity for prosecuting the criminals behind it [modern slavery]".