Wanted: Your views on slavery

“Slavery?” I hear you cry. “In this day and age?”

Sadly, slavery is still very much with us. And it’s not a problem found only in far away countries. It’s happening right here, right now, in Britain.

The extent of the problem and proposed remedies were set out in the Report of the Modern Slavery Bill Evidence Review, chaired by Frank Field MP and published on 16th December 2013.

The government is now proposing new legislation to tackle the problem. As part of the process of preparing this legislation, a Joint Committee on the Draft Modern Slavery Bill has been established, of which I am a member. The Bill was published last December and the committee’s role is pre-legislative scrutiny, to consider and report on the draft Bill. We will take written and oral evidence and make recommendations in a report to both houses of parliament this April, which will feed into the final bill that will be placed before parliament.

The potential value of this Bill is that it provides the opportunity for legislative consolidation to encapsulate all modern slavery issues, so that the legislative source of prevention and prosecution of offenders and protection of victims can be available to those who need to implement the legislation in a single source.

Although the draft Bill is a welcome step forward, however, it has many shortcomings. I am particularly concerned about the failure to deal adequately with the need to protect child victims of trafficking. It’s not just that 40% of victims of trafficking are children but also that child exploitation has specific characteristics and special needs.

Other shortcomings of the Bill include:

  • It merely replicates or brings together existing legislation rather than create a consolidated offence.
  • It fails to distinguish adequately between ‘modern day slavery’ and ‘trafficking’, which are related but distinct problems.
  • It does not distinguish adequately between victims of trafficking and offenders of immigration laws, leaving the former open to prosecution instead of protection.
  • It does not protect victims of trafficking from being prosecuted for crimes they have been forced to commit by their exploiters.

To help improve the draft Bill, I would like to hear your views. I can then feed these into the scrutiny process and help shape the Bill as it appears in its revised format. Given the April deadline, the committee is working to a short timescale, so the sooner you can send your views the better. Parliament’s formal call for evidence expired on 10th February but you can nevertheless feed your ideas to me at [email protected].

* Dee Doocey became a Liberal Democrat peer in December 2010. She was formerly a member of Richmond Borough Council, the London Assembly and the Metropolitan Police Authority.

Read more by or more about .
This entry was posted in News.
Bookmark the web address for this page or use the short url http://ldv.org.uk/38156 for Twitter and emails.

2 Comments

  • What definition of trafficking does it use? I work in an office building in Eastern Europe (EU) where there are job agencies offering to “traffic” people to the UK to work in factories, as plumbers etc.

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

If you are a member of the party, you can have the Lib Dem Logo appear next to your comments to show this. You must be registered for our forum and can then login on this public site with the same username and password.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

*
*
Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?




Recent Comments

  • User AvatarSarah Noble 25th Oct - 11:24pm
    Callum: mind you, that would mean that a) the SNP would have to drop their policy of abstention on English matters and more importantly, b)...
  • User AvatarCaron Lindsay 25th Oct - 11:21pm
    I think it's fair to say that I am not a fan of the Labour Party. One of their first acts in government was to...
  • User AvatarStevan Rose 25th Oct - 11:18pm
    Since only the already relatively decentralised matters of education and NHS gained majority support amongst members of the party most in favour of localism, does...
  • User AvatarA Social Liberal 25th Oct - 11:18pm
    No Adnan, the reason Yugoslavia fell apart was because it depended on one man to hold it together. Tito was a great leader but he...
  • User AvatarIgor Sagdejev 25th Oct - 11:17pm
    @Tony Greaves Yes, we've had enough of miscoalition.
  • User AvatarIgor Sagdejev 25th Oct - 11:13pm
    @Frank Bowles - Well, the Union was saved (for now), so to Westminster they go.