Jess Phillips makes powerful speech on modern slavery for Justice and Care and CSJ

July 19, 2023

MP Jess Phillips has declared ‘it’s time for a new drive towards eradicating modern slavery and exploitation’ in a hopeful keynote speech for Justice and Care and the Centre for Social Justice.

The Shadow Minister for Domestic Violence and Safeguarding has warned modern slavery is currently entrenched in communities and harming thousands of people in the UK every year – with the Government now ‘fulfilling traffickers’ dreams’ by passing the Illegal Migration Bill.

Speaking at the Centre for Social Justice in Westminster, she highlighted the gravity of the problem by reading out a letter from a survivor named Isabelle* who ‘was gang raped, injected with heroin, and left black and blue’ before being ‘let down by countless professionals and services’.

But the top Labour politician went on to re-energise campaigners by committing to disentangling modern slavery from immigration crime and putting survivor support front and centre to aid recoveries and boost conviction rates.

Setting out her vision for the next decade, Jess said the British Government should launch an all-out-assault on modern slavery with a strong cross-departmental strategic plan and action – including health, housing, education, local government, business and trade.

She went on to proclaim ‘we need to get tougher on all modern slavery offenders’, reminding her audience ‘we can’t get to traffickers without survivors’ and celebrating the success of Justice and Care’s Victim Navigator Programme.

‘Support like that offered by Justice and Care’s Victim Navigator Programme is a real example of how successful prosecutions and convictions can be achieved by putting victim support front and centre’, she said.

Jess Phillips making speech for Justice and Care and the Centre for Social Justice

Jess said her third focus would be focusing on prevention of trafficking and re-trafficking in source and transit countries and the UK.

Last but not least, she said businesses must step up their game and, with the help of Governments, address the 27 million people trapped in forced labour across the world.

Jess said: ‘Our country should be proud of our efforts in the past on modern slavery and we should strive to be proud again. Modern slavery has no place in any part of our country, every victim must be supported, and every perpetrator convicted.’

*Name changed to protect identity