• ‘The Modern Slavery (Victim Support) Bill’

    I believe this is an important Bill which would strengthen the Modern Slavery Act. I share the concerns raised that at present specialist support funded by the Government ends very quickly after a person is confirmed to be a victim of modern slavery. This is potentially very damaging for victims, and non-Governmental organisations are all too often having to pick up the pieces. I believe granting leave to remain with recourse to benefits and services would help with long-term recovery of victims, prevent re-trafficking, and help to secure convictions of the people involved in this awful crime. There are an estimated 10,000 to 13,000 people in modern slavery in the UK. The Modern Slavery Act was passed two years ago, yet it has been left to go stale through a lack of enforcement, additional legislation or desire. Modern day slavery is complex, and in-depth, sophisticated investigations are needed. With the pressure of cuts to police numbers and budgets, it is unfortunately not surprising that investigations are prematurely closed and victims not identified. I am aware of Government announcements made last October about a range of measures intended to improve the National Referral Mechanism. The Government stated in January 2018 that detailed implementation plans, including timescales, are being made, and I will monitor any developments closely. Thank you once again for contacting me and for sharing your views. I can assure you I will continue to follow this issue and bear in mind the points that you raise. I hope the Government will support the aims of the Modern Slavery (Victim Support) Bill. Modern slavery is a scourge with historical roots, and we must make sure that we offer victims robust, reliable and effective support.