A landmark Bill to help eradicate modern slavery received Royal Assent on Thursday 26th March.
The Modern Slavery Act 2015 is the first of its kind in Europe, and one of the first in the world, to specifically address slavery and trafficking in the 21st century.
The new legislation significantly enhances support and protection for victims, gives law enforcement the tools they need to target today’s slave drivers, ensures perpetrators can be severely punished, and includes a world leading provision to encourage business to take action to ensure their end-to-end supply chains are slavery free.
Having undergone extensive Parliamentary and public scrutiny, the Modern Slavery Act is one of the final pieces of legislation to be put on the statute books by this government.
David Noble, Group CEO, CIPS welcomes the news commenting:
“We welcome the passing of the Modern Slavery Act and hope it represents the first step to eradicating modern day slavery in supply chains and to ensure this abuse comes to an end.
For too long transparency in supply chains has been overlooked. We hope this new legislation will highlight the vital importance of diligent supply chain management in the UK and world-wide.
We look forward to working with the government to ensure the provisions for supply chain transparency are as robust as possible.”
The newly appointed Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner, Kevin Hyland OBE said:
"Through the passing of the Modern Slavery Act the UK has the opportunity to once again lead the fight against this cruel trade in human life. But we must be clear that this is just the first step. My role has been created to spearhead the UK’s response both domestically and internationally and to ensure agencies use the new legislation to its full potential, whilst crucially also calling to account those that fail to deliver.
I will be working in close partnership with statutory bodies and civil society groups to both strengthen efforts to pursue and prosecute traffickers and slave drivers and to ensure that the needs of victims are met in all circumstances. A key focus must also be on more effective measures to prevent these crimes from ever occurring in the first place. I aim to achieve this through working closely with communities across the UK as well driving more intelligent upstream activity in the source countries from where large numbers of women, men and children are trafficked to this country.
Modern slavery is a complex problem and legislation is only part of the solution. Alongside the passage of the Bill, the government published a Modern Slavery Strategy outlining a comprehensive response to the crime. This includes efforts across government and law enforcement, work with other countries to tackle the problem at source, and increased awareness within all communities.
Today’s move comes as the government announces that The Salvation Army has been appointed to continue the provision of the government’s Victim Care Contract to manage the support of adult victims of modern slavery in England and Wales."
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