Modern Day Slavery Bill enters the Commons

A Private Members’ Bill designed to strengthen the rights of victims of Modern Slavery in England and Wales cleared a significant hurdle earlier this week as it received the all-important Third Reading in the House of Lords.

From a film by the Co-operative Group, telling the story of a modern slavery survivor helped by its Bright Future project.

Claire McCarthy, General Secretary of the Co-operative Party, welcomed the news:

“I’m delighted that members of the House of Lords have backed the Bill. Government now needs to get behind the Bill and give it time and support to get through the House of Commons. The Bill contains important provisions which are absolutely critical to delivering on the Prime Minister’s objective of eradicating the scourge of modern day slavery.”

Introduced into the House of Lords by the Conservative Peer Lord McColl, The Modern Slavery (Victim Support) Bill now enters the House of Commons and, by convention, will now be taken through the Commons by a Labour MP, Frank Field.

The Government currently provides victims with a limited period of care on a non-statutory basis while the authorities decide if the person is a victim, but then the support ends. Although some victims are entitled to further help, the vast majority (and this is true of victims across the UK) are left to fend for themselves, often at risk of homelessness and vulnerable to being re-trafficked.

The Bill will give victims in England and Wales a guaranteed right to support during the initial period when the decision about the status is being made, and for a further 12 months afterwards. Separate and stronger legislation already exists in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Free for Good, the UK’s campaign for the Bill are encouraging people to contact their MP to encourage them to support the Bill in the Commons.