Today (Thursday 26 March), on the fifth anniversary of the Modern Slavery Act, anti-trafficking charity CARE is calling for new guidance from the Home Office on supporting victims of modern slavery during COVID-19.
Earlier this week, an amendment was tabled by Sir Jeffrey Donaldson MP to the emergency Coronavirus Bill which places a duty on the Secretary of State to produce guidance for public authorities and other relevant persons about continuing the process of identifying human trafficking victims during the coronavirus pandemic.
In reply, the Minister said conversations had already been conducted on the issue, but the Government stopped short of committing to providing the necessary guidance.
As well as celebrating the Modern Slavery Act and all it has contributed to the fight against modern slavery, CARE is today renewing the call for clear guidance from the Government on identifying and supporting victims of modern slavery during the coronavirus pandemic.
CARE’s Chief Executive, Nola Leach, said:
“Amidst all the uncertainty, grief and fear about the coronavirus pandemic, it is good to remember the fifth anniversary of the Modern Slavery Act.
“This vital piece of legislation is changing lives and was a significant step forward in the ongoing fight against human trafficking here in the UK.
“It is a source of ongoing shame that there are so many people in modern slavery in our country, be it domestic servitude, labour or sexual exploitation.
“There has rightly been a lot of focus in recent days on looking after the most vulnerable in our communities during COVID-19.
“Modern slavery victims surely fall into this category and that is why their needs must be urgently addressed.
“Victims need assurance that they will receive the help they desperately need, and local authorities need clear instructions on how best to continue both identifying and supporting victims in these very difficult times.
“That is why we are calling on the Government to produce new, official guidance on how public authorities can continue to support victims during this pandemic.”
Notes to editors:
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CARE is a well-established mainstream Christian charity providing resources and helping to bring Christian insight and experience to matters of public policy and practical caring initiatives. CARE is represented in the UK Parliaments and Assemblies.
The Coronavirus Bill and amendments can be found here: https://services.parliament.uk/Bills/2019-21/coronavirus/documents.html
The Modern Slavery Act can be accessed here: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2015/30/contents/enacted
The Act received its Royal Assent on 26 March 2015.