UK’s modern slavery bill gets its second reading



A piece of legislation aimed at tackling slavery, human trafficking, forced labour and domestic servitude is getting its second reading in Westminster. The bill is one of the first of its kind in trying to address slavery in the 21st century.

As the bill makes its way through parliament, the government has released a publication that highlights modern issues concerning exploited people from Europe, Africa and Asia, and suggests measures to tackle the phenomenon.

The report focused on three particular types of exploitation that are worryingly widespread in the UK: sexual, labour and domestic slavery.

Home secretary Theresa May said, “We are taking steps to ensure slave drivers never think the UK is a safe space to operate in, and that victims of slavery are not ignored. To anyone involved in slavery let me be clear – we will track you down, prosecute you and lock you up, with your assets seized and confiscated.”

The government has highlighted a series of steps that can fight human trafficking and modern slavery, which includes working with the private sector to ensure transparent supply chains, identify, protecting and supporting victims, with a special eye for minors that would have dedicated teams, and raising public awareness with national campaigns.

It would also strengthen cooperation with the Border Force, NGOs and other foreign countries, while making sure that victims forced to commit an offence as a direct consequence of their slavery are not treated as criminals.

According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), at least 21 million people live in slavery today across the world. A recent investigation by Al Jazeera has revealed that women from South East Asia are being sold in Singapore as commodities, promising low wages and no days off.

Photo:  Imagens Evangélicas via flickr

Further reading:

Modern slavery: cheap maids for sale in Singapore

Investors welcome US act to combat slavery and human trafficking

Thai slave ‘ghost ships’ supplying prawns to supermarkets in the US and UK

Government says it is ‘here to help’ victims as modern slavery bill is published

New guidelines may modern slavery is ‘severe but solvable’


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