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20 November 2014

Modern Slavery Bill: an update

Modern Slavery Bill: an update

The Modern Slavery Bill is now in the House of Lords where it had its second reading this week.

This is a very important time for the progress of this bill as the House of Lords offers the opportunity to make improvements which will see this become a strong and effective law.

We were so pleased to see the government announce last month that they would include a requirement for big businesses to publicly state what they're doing to make sure their supply chains are slavery free in the bill. The Alliance has been working with other organisations including Unseen, CORE and CAFOD to advocate for this to be included. This will be a major step forward in preventing and reducing the use of forced labour in supply chains.

While we support this inclusion in principle, there are improvements which still need to be made in order to ensure its effectiveness and we will be working hard to see this happen in the House of Lords.

We are also keen to see a greater focus on support for victims. Earlier this month Anthony Steen, former special envoy for human trafficking to the home secretary, correctly warned that the bill doesn't focus enough on the needs of victims of trafficking.

It is very encouraging to see the progress that is being made on this bill and that MPs are keen and willing to take on board the advice and information provided to them by the many organisations that are advocating for a stronger law.

We have a once in a lifetime opportunity to tackle modern day slavery through our laws and it's crucial that we make the most of this. The UK has the chance to become world leaders on tackling modern day slavery and by setting out clear guidelines for what it means to operate slavery free supply chains, providing better support for victims and giving greater independence to the Anti-Slavery Commissioner we will likely see this happen.

You can follow the progress of the Modern Slavery Bill here.