Last week, the Home Secretary introduced a Modern Slavery Bill into Parliament. The Bill sets out to ensure that the law enforcement agencies have the tools they need to stamp out this abhorrent practice.
The Modern Slavery Bill contains significant new measures to ensure that victims are better supported and protected, not only to recovery from their terrible ordeal, but also to support effective investigations and prosecutions. Specifically, the Bill will do this by:
- ensuring that victims are not prosecuted for crimes they commit as a direct consequence of their trafficking situation;
- providing automatic access for all modern slavery victims to help vulnerable and intimidated witnesses give their best evidence in court and help relieve some of the stress associated with giving evidence;
- ensuring that victims can receive reparation, from their trafficker or slave master, for the abuse and suffering they have experienced; and
- providing statutory guidance to first responders and front-line professionals on how to identify potential victims and access relevant support services.
The Bill also contains a measure to strengthen police powers at sea so that law enforcement agencies can act where they suspect a vessel is involved in modern slavery.
The Bill, alongside a comprehensive strategy to be published later this year, will strengthen legislative framework to support victims and to pursue the perpetrators.