Why does the Nationality and Borders Bill refer to modern slavery and does it really help survivors?
The UK has been seen as a leader in the fight against modern slavery and human trafficking. The Modern Slavery Act, which encourages businesses to take action to address modern slavery risk in their operations and supply chains, provides a defence for victims who were forced to engage in criminal activity as part of their exploitation and encourages the reporting and supporting of victims, was hailed as a globally pioneering piece of legislation when introduced in 2015. However, the Nationality and Borders Bill which encapsulates the Government’s ‘new plan’ for immigration, could threaten the UK’s reputation in the field.
While we recognise the good intentions behind the Bill and welcome the Government’s continued commitment to tackling modern slavery, the risks and repercussions it will generate are worrying and we believe the Bill must be modified.
As it stands, the Bill would be counterproductive and actually hinder the fight against modern slavery and human trafficking. Victims will be unable to get appropriate support and conviction rates of traffickers will reduce. We are proud to add our name as part of an industry collective urging the Government to acknowledge our concerns and amend the Bill accordingly.
The industry has released a joint statement on the Bill which can be accessed here, and details the risks the Bill in its current form poses for victims and survivors of modern slavery. We will be sharing a template letter to send to local MPs as well so you too can get involved – watch this space!
We’ve broken down our concerns about the Bill on Instagram (@shivafoundation_), so do follow us and learn more about the specific clauses within the Bill and our related concerns.