Appoint a new Anti-Slavery Commissioner Now!

Blog, Members, Resources

CCAT was a significant contributor in giving evidence about trafficking/slavery to the government that helped the passing of the Modern Slavery Act in 2015.

Theresa May heralded this as ground breaking legislation that has since been replicated in several other countries demonstrating that victims of slavery need to be recognised and given the help they desperately need.  One of the key elements of the Act was the establishment of an independent Anti Slavery Commissioner whose purpose was to ensure that victims are treated justly and effectively.  Dame Sara Thornton, a senior respected police officer, was appointed in this role in 2019 but her tenure came to an end in April 2022.  Incredibly she has not yet been replaced so there has been no AS Commissioner for over 15 months thus contravening a vital part of the Modern Slavery Act.

In recent months the UK government, driven by its Stop the Boats campaign, has been pushing through the Illegal Migration Bill attempting to slow down people coming to the UK. However, according to charities like Anti Slavery International, this planned legislation will directly affect victims and survivors of slavery.  To better protect individuals from terrible exploitation, the role of the Anti Slavery Commissioner is essential in encouraging good practice in dealing with these dreadful offences and ensuring the Modern Slavery Act is upheld and properly respected.  Intentionally or not, with no Commissioner in post, modern slavery victims are being neglected and scrutiny of the Illegal Migration Bill is missing. The House of Lords has analysed the Bill and said that in its current form, it will actually increase opportunities for traffickers and perpetrators of slavery but the government has still voted for it to be pushed through. In the Commons, Theresa May said this will drive more slavery creating more money making opportunities for perpetrators.

The anti slavery charity Unseen’s CEO Andrew Wallis who also runs the vital Modern Slavery Help Line commented; “The IM Bill is an effective green light for traffickers to carry on doing what they are doing as it focuses on the victims not the perpetrators.  Modern Slavery is a crime; being a victim is not!”

CCAT will campaign to get a new Anti Slavery Commissioner in place without further delay.