The Modern Slavery Bill is published today. Fiona Mactaggart, MP for Slough, welcomed this. She has driven the development of the Bill through her membership of the Joint Committee on the Draft Modern Slavery Bill and her position as co-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Human Trafficking and Modern Day Slavery.
Fiona Mactaggart said:
“Our All Party Parliamentary Group has been pressing, on a cross party basis, for effective legislation on this issue for the whole of this Parliament. I welcome this bill. New legislation is urgently needed if we are to end this grotesque abuse of human rights: two centuries after the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade people are still bought and sold and controlled by others for gain.
“I am glad that some of the changes recommended by Parliament during the pre-legislative scrutiny process have been taken on board, but I believe that there remains a risk that the description of the offences will continue to mean that too many people who exploit others in this way escape prosecution. In 2011-12 there were only 165 prosecutions for these offences and in 2011 only 8 were convicted. Yet there are probably thousands and certainly hundreds of people who are subject to this kind of exploitation. I will be pressing the Home Secretary to look carefully at whether we can make the offences more straightforward to prosecute.
“In addition the lack of legislation to help companies drive slavery from their supply chains is disappointing, and we will continue to raise this issue, and the need for a genuiney independent commissioner who can ensure victims get the support they need. In addition, stronger protection for victims of domestic servitude, made more vulnerable by immigration rules which tie them to a single employer, is required.”