As you read this you will be aware that a lot has happened since the Frodsham Forum a year ago on Anti Human Trafficking. A lot of energy has been given after the forum in engaging with other groups and in particular, politicians and Government Ministers with regard to improving the Modern Slavery Bill, which became an Act of Parliament on the 26th March 2015.
The Act will strengthen the response of law enforcement and the courts by:
Increasing the maximum sentence available for the most serious offenders from 14 years to life imprisonment;
Ensuring that perpetrators convicted of slavery or trafficking face the toughest asset confiscation regime;
Consolidating and simplifying existing modern slavery offences into one Act;
Introducing Slavery and Trafficking Prevention Orders and Slavery and Trafficking Risk Orders to restrict the activity of individuals where they pose a risk of causing harm;
Strengthening law enforcement powers at sea to close loopholes which can prevent the police and Border Force being able to act on board vessels at sea.
The Modern Slavery Act will ensure victims receive the protection and support they deserve by:
Creating a statutory defence for victims of modern slavery so that they are not inappropriately criminalised;
Giving the courts new powers to order perpetrators of slavery and trafficking to pay Reparation Orders to their victims;
Providing for child advocates to support child victims of trafficking;
Extending special measures so that all victims of modern slavery can be supported through the criminal justice process;
Providing statutory guidance on victim identification and victim services, including an enabling power to put the relevant processes on a statutory basis;
Introducing protections for victims of abuse on an overseas domestic workers visa.
Independent Anti-slavery Commissioner
The Act also establishes the UK’s first ever Independent Anti-slavery Commissioner to drive forward the law enforcement response and hold them to account at all levels, ensuring that the perpetrators are caught and prosecuted and that the victims are swiftly identified so they can get help.
Everybody is pleased that the Act is now law. Although all agree there is more to be done, such as identifying hidden slavery in the supply chains of Major companies.
Churches Together Against Trafficking
Churches can act Together and be a large organisation against trafficking. Everybody has to be part of the solution. Think when you buy goods, who made them? If you see something that gives you cause for concern, report it to Crime Stoppers on 0800 555 111. Think about supporting the Salvation Army Human Trafficking Victims fund and similar front line organisations.
Raise awareness, get organised! Over the last few years Churches Together have had a, Forum to raise awareness, established links with other groups, ecumenical services, coffee mornings, talks to church groups and others, fund raising for front line organisations. Why not see us at the Cheshire Show on the 23rd and 24th June? We have joined forces with the Soroptimist’s at their Tent with the ‘Stop the Traffic - Gift Box. Don’t pass by, say, Hello.
This is just part of the work that has and is going on to help people become aware of what Human Trafficking is and what they can do to combat it. The work of Churches Together is to raise awareness in all communities and to support organisations in the front line.
If you wish to help, donations can be made to: Churches Together Against Trafficking- The TSB bank - sort code 77-48-03 account 16203160.
If you would like further details about the work of Churches Together Against Trafficking please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Written by the Minister & Members