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Thursday, 12 June 2014
A modern slavery bill, the first of its kind in Europe was published in Britain on Tuesday and aims to bring perpetrators of slavery and human trafficking to justice.
Those committing the appalling crime will receive 14 years to life in prison as punishment with those with previous violent or sexual offences automatically receiving life. The current modern slavery offences will be simplified and consolidated into one Act making it easier to prosecute offenders.
An Anti-Slavery Commissioner will also be introduced ‘to improve and better coordinate the response to modern slavery’.
Home Secretary Theresa May, who passed the bill, stated:
“Modern slavery is an appalling crime that has no place in today’s society. It is an affront not just to the dignity and humanity of the people crushed by it but to every one of us.
“This Bill presents an historic opportunity to get legislation on the statute books specifically targeting the scourge of modern slavery. I want to pay tribute to the campaigners, organisations and Parliamentarians of all parties, who have worked tirelessly to help us arrive at this important milestone.
“To stand the best chance of becoming law by the end of this Parliament, the Bill needs to be as clear and tightly focused as possible. But it will be an important start that future governments will be able to build on. It will send the strongest possible signal to criminals that if you are involved in this disgusting trade you will be arrested, you will be prosecuted and you will be locked up. And it will say to victims, you are not alone and we are here to help you.
“Modern slavery is a complex problem and legislation is only part of the solution. It also requires tireless and coordinated effort across government and law enforcement, work with other countries to tackle the problem at source, and increased awareness within all communities, including the business community. We are taking forward that work in parallel with the passage of the Bill.”