Home Secretary Theresa May has published the Modern Slavery Bill to help fight slavery and human trafficking.
The Bill will give law enforcement the tools they need to target today’s slave drivers, ensure perpetrators are severely punished and improve support and protection for victims.
“Modern slavery is an appalling crime that has no place in today’s society,” Ms May said. “It is an affront not just to the dignity and humanity of the people crushed by it but to every one of us.”
Ms May thanked the campaigners, organisations and Parliamentarians of all parties for helping the Bill arrive at this stage.
She said the Bill “will send the strongest possible signal to criminals that if you are involved in this disgusting trade you will be arrested, you will be prosecuted and you will be locked up. And it will say to victims, you are not alone and we are here to help you.”
The Bill will increase the maximum sentence available for the most serious offenders from 14 years to life imprisonment, with those who have a previous conviction for a serious sexual or violent offence facing an automatic life sentence.
It will also ensure that perpetrators convicted of slavery or trafficking face the toughest asset confiscation regime.
The Modern Slavery Bill will improve support and protection for victims. For instance, it will give the courts new powers to order perpetrators of slavery and trafficking to pay Reparation Orders to their victims. All victims of modern slavery will also be supported through the criminal justice process.
“Modern slavery is a complex problem and legislation is only part of the solution. It also requires tireless and coordinated effort across government and law enforcement, work with other countries to tackle the problem at source, and increased awareness within all communities, including the business community. We are taking forward that work in parallel with the passage of the Bill,” Ms May said.