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Continue our campaigns to eradicate human trafficking and modern slavery

Last updated 3 years ago

We will continue our campaigns [...] to eradicate human trafficking and the scourge of modern slavery.

Conservative Party Manifesto 2019, p.53

Our verdict

  • This is a promise to continue efforts to eradicate modern slavery, which the government defines as including the crime of human trafficking.
  • In March 2020, the government issued the UK’s first Modern Slavery Statement, and an updated version of the statutory guidance on modern slavery was published in May 2021. Both the 2020 UK Annual Report on Modern Slavery and the annual report of the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner outline initiatives to combat modern slavery. The government’s New Plan for Immigration, published in March 2021, contains a section on ‘Supporting Victims of Modern Slavery’, but at least one major anti-slavery charity has said measures in the plan “threaten to discriminate against and criminalise vulnerable people”. In May 2021, the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner expressed concern that the New Plan for Immigration “will make the identification of victims of modern slavery harder and will create additional vulnerabilities”. In June 2021, the government announced its intention to create a new workers’ watchdog with responsibility for tackling modern slavery, combining the roles of three existing agencies.
  • The Modern Slavery Statement and measures resulting from it, along with updated statutory guidance, actions detailed in the annual reports above, and the planned workers’ watchdog all represent efforts “to eradicate human trafficking and modern slavery”.  However, set against those, the government is simultaneously pursuing an immigration strategy viewed by its independent monitoring body and others as potentially increasing hardship for victims of modern slavery.  We’re calling this ‘in progress’, a status backed up by the national human rights watchdog on their own tracker.

There's always room for debate

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