The most vulnerable of trafficked victims will benefit from the newly passed Modern Slavery Bill according to the CEO of the anti-trafficking charity CARE.
Today the UK Government’s anti-slavery legislation was finally voted through in the House of Lords.
Announced 18 months ago, the legislation was initially criticised for not providing enough support for victims of trafficking.
It was especially weak in relation to providing support for child victims of trafficking who are acknowledged as often having undergone the most traumatic of experiences.
Statistics from the National Referral Mechanism revealed across England and Wales in 2014 there were as many as 380 potential child trafficking victims.
For years CARE has been calling for the creation of independent child trafficking advocates to ensure child victims have someone who can support and speak for them.
The Government finally relented and also agreed to a number of other CARE supported measures that were not included in the Bill when first introduced:
- The establishment of specialist independent child trafficking advocates to protect and advocate for children who have suffered the trauma of being trafficked.
- Measures to prevent the punishment of victims of human trafficking for crimes they have been compelled to commit by their traffickers.
- Extension of special measures in court for victims of forced labour.
- New role of Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner to drive improvements in law enforcement and identifying and supporting victims.
CARE CEO Nola Leach said:
“I want to commend MPs and Peers who have worked so hard to move this Bill in the right direction so that now we’ve got a piece of legislation that will empower and support victims.
“When the legislation was first announced, CARE was especially concerned with the failure to provide adequate support for child victims of trafficking.
“If you are a child who has suffered the trauma of being trapped in trafficking, the experience can be devastating and it was vital the Bill introduced specialist child trafficking advocates to be a voice for the most vulnerable victims – those who couldn’t speak for themselves.
“So I’m delighted after years of CARE campaigning for significant changes, the Government have listened and the Bill will mean child victims will now receive the support they need and deserve.
“We look forward to the child advocates scheme being rolled out across England and Wales following the successful completion of the trials.”
2014 statistics from the National Referral Mechanism revealed there were 380 potential child victims of trafficking across England and Wales
The Modern Slavery Bill was first announced 18 months ago.
For more information please contact CARE’s media officer James Mildred on 0207 227 4731/ 07581153693.