Modern slavery is a crime that is devastating to the lives of its victims, and usually affects the most vulnerable members of society.
The police estimate that between 10-15,000 people are currently victims of modern slavery in order to provide a source of cheap labour that ruthless gang-masters exploit.
The Government’s proposal to extend the period of support for an additional 45 days goes nowhere near far enough to provide adequate support for vulnerable victims of modern slavery. A 12 month window would enable local authorities and the police to provide the necessary support and to bring perpetrators to justice.
Barnsley Councillor Chris Lamb has established the country’s first course for victims of modern slavery at Northern College. The course provides essential skills to help victims rebuild their lives and make a future for themselves. I am pleased to be supporting Cllr Lamb’s efforts in this area, and I am working closely with my Parliamentary neighbour Stephanie Peacock MP on setting up a roundtable discussion in Parliament that will involve as many MPs and Peers as possible to support this Bill and other action on modern slavery.
You may also be interested that the Co-operative Party has recently done tremendous work on the issue of modern slavery, including pioneering the Anti-Modern Slavery Charter, which has been signed by Islington and Oxford councils, and which I hope will be adopted by other local authorities across the country. You can find out about the Co-Op’s charter and work on this issue here: https://party.coop/policy/modern-slavery-charter/