New report launched by Justice and Care and the Centre for Social Justice

February 27, 2023

Labour’s frontbench lead on Domestic Violence and Safeguarding, Jess Phillips, has backed a call by Justice and Care and the Centre for Social Justice for cuckooing to be recognised as a modern slavery offence. 

In the foreword to a major new report from our Modern Slavery Policy Unit, Slavery At Home, the MP for Birmingham Yardley says we cannot leave victims of the crime to suffer behind closed doors. 

The report, released today by Justice and Care and the CSJ, urges a major overhaul of the 2015 Modern Slavery Act – including calling on cuckooing to become a named modern slavery offence so that gangs who take over people’s homes, often to run their drug operations from, can be properly held to account. 

The report also calls for better support for survivors, stronger sentences for offenders and to strengthen transparency in supply chains. Jess Phillips says more focus is needed on the issue: 

‘This paper from Justice and Care and the Centre for Social Justice is a timely and welcome redirection, calling us back to the core of the fight against this horrendous abuse on our doorstep: bringing offenders to justice and supporting victims to recover.’

‘We need to focus on the cause of the problem and stop this being a low risk – high reward crime. The four themes highlighted by the paper give us a road map to achieve this.

Launching the report, Christian Guy, the Chief Executive of Justice and Care, said: ‘Some causes should be elevated well above party political point-scoring and Westminster jostling – fighting the evil of modern slavery and human trafficking is one of them.’ 

Andy Cook, the CEO of the Centre for Social Justice, added: ‘For centuries our country has led the way in the fight against slavery, from taking on the transatlantic trade to the pioneering legislation in 2015. The promise of a new Bill was welcome and must be seen through, but its test must be whether life improves for victims and gets tougher for criminals. This paper sets a course to achieve that.’ 

In addition to an increased focus on increasing prosecution and conviction rates, the report recommends the introduction of a national register for modern slavery offenders – similar to the sex offenders register. This would allow police nationally to monitor offenders and allow them to prohibit them from engaging in relevant activities, such as working with children, or recruiting staff. 

The full report can be accessed here, and the executive summary found here.