Tackling Modern Slavery in the UK: Systemic Change

July 16, 2019

A range of high-level recommendations made by Justice and Care’s CEO, Christian Guy, have been accepted by the UK Government in its response to the commissioned review of the Modern Slavery Act.

The Modern Slavery Act was introduced in 2015, making provisions for the role of the Anti-Slavery Commissioner, clarifying modern slavery offences and including a requirement for businesses to disclose action they are taking to eliminate slavery from their supply chains. Before joining Justice and Care, Christian was heavily involved in making the Act become a reality.

In 2018 the Government commissioned Rt Hon Frank Field MP, Rt Hon Maria Miller MP and Baroness Elizabeth Butler-Sloss to hold an Independent Review of the Modern Slavery Act, to strengthen and enhance the legislation as the crime of modern slavery and human trafficking is uncovered and better understood. Christian was appointed the International Expert Adviser for the Review – his findings and recommendations along with others were published in May 2019.

 Fighting slavery and human trafficking have rightly been political priorities in recent years, but it is down to the new Prime Minister and all of us to ensure they remain so. We now have the opportunity to build on these reforms and launch an all-out assault on this horrific crime. We must continue to work to make sure that the UK is both a hostile place for those who wish to perpetrate these appalling crimes and a place of recovery and rehabilitation for victims. This is just the beginning” Christian Guy, CEO, Justice and Care

Last week the UK Government responded to the recommendations officially. In total 13 recommendations were either accepted or are being further considered by the Government.

These include the creation of a dedicated envoy on modern slavery. This vital role will provide increased accountability within the UK Government and ensure close post-Brexit cooperation in the fight against organised crime. Also recommended by Justice and Care is a fresh domestic focus for the Anti-Slavery Commissioner and renewed accountability and action within the UK.

Crucial to the global fight is a step-change in the way businesses engage with slavery in their supply chains. As a result of these recommendations, the Government will introduce an online registry of the anti-slavery activity of top businesses. This will ensure greater transparency and accountability as businesses disclose how they engage with their supply chains.

The review and the Government’s response is a good step forward, and this willingness for action is encouraging. With a new Prime Minister soon to be appointed, there is an opportunity for fresh strategic leadership to continue the fight against slavery here in the UK.

This is why we are excited to announce that, in September, Justice and Care is launching a joint modern slavery policy unit with the Centre for Social Justice. This unit will deliver smart recommendations and a strategic vision to ensure that fighting slavery remains core political business and to strengthen the fight against this global crime on both a domestic and international level.