The Government introduced the Modern Slavery Strategy in 2014, and the Modern Slavery Act the following year, with the aim of significantly reducing the prevalence of modern slavery in the UK.
Recent reports have raised concern about a lack of progress since the legislation came into force. In December 2017 the National Audit Office said that Home Office oversight of the scale and scope of the crime needs to improve if the Government is to meet its objectives and achieve value for money, while a follow-up report by the Public Accounts Committee in May 2018 recommended that the Government more effectively structure and track its activities, improve care standards and support for victims, and develop guidance to improve police responses to modern slavery. Concerns have also been raised over the support provided to victims, and the Government’s efforts to drive business compliance with requirements of transparency in supply chains.
The role of 'county lines' drug distribution networks is also a developing factor in modern slavery. Thousands of teenagers and young people are coerced and exploited into selling drugs across the country, with British victims making up the highest proportion of known slaves in the UK. Some gang leaders have already been imprisoned under modern slavery laws for trafficking and abusing victims.
The Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner, Kevin Hyland, has said that a better understanding of modern slavery must be an "absolute priority” for the Government, claiming that the issue in the UK is “far more prevalent than we have ever realised”, with the number of victims likely to be in the “tens of thousands".
The Government has announced that it is currently working on a new digital system to improve upon the current National Referral Mechanism, is developing an enhanced performance framework to measure delivery of the modern slavery strategy, and is working with key stakeholders to develop standards for victim support and consistency in the policing response.
Terms of reference - call for written evidence
The Committee invites written evidence on, but not limited to, the following issues:
- The current scale and nature of modern slavery
- The impact of the Modern Slavery Act 2015
- How to increase understanding and reporting of modern slavery offences
- The impact of ‘county lines’, and how this issue can be tackled
- What success in tackling modern slavery would look like, and what benchmarks should be used to measure progress
- Current levels of support for victims, and how it can be improved
- How the police and immigration system's response to modern slavery offences could be improved
- What the priorities for the new Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner should be
Submitting written evidence
- Send a written submission to the Modern slavery inquiry
The deadline for submissions is Friday 7 September 2018. Written evidence should be submitted online via the dedicated evidence portal on the Committee’s website. Guidance on submitting evidence is set out below:
If submitting evidence in this way is difficult for you, you can email it to the Committee instead using this address firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your submission needs to be in Word format and please try to avoid using colour type or logos.
Submissions should not exceed 3,000 words – and short submissions are welcome.