Human traffickers face tougher sentences in UK

The maximum sentence for trafficking offences will be increased to life, the government has announced.

The move will make sure the worst perpetrators can get a life sentence while those who already have a conviction for a very serious sexual or violent offence will face an automatic life sentence.

The measure will be included in a Modern Slavery Bill with James Brokenshire as Minister for the Bill, to be published this year in draft form for pre-legislative scrutiny.

The bill will consolidate into a single act the offences used to prosecute modern day slave drivers. It will also introduce Trafficking Prevention Orders to restrict the activity and movement of convicted traffickers and stop them from committing further offences.

A new Anti-Slavery Commissioner will be appointed to hold law enforcement and other organisations to account.

The numbers of identified trafficking victims across the UK continues to rise. A report published on 24th October 2013 by the Inter-Departmental Ministerial Group (IDMG) on Human Trafficking shows that 1186 people were identified and referred for support in 2012 – an increase of 25% in the number of referrals from 2011.

The report shows that trafficking remains primarily an organised crime associated with gangs.

James Brokenshire, Crime and Security Minister described the modern slavery as “an appalling evil in our midst.”

The latest figures, he said, “are unlikely to reflect the full extent of this largely hidden crime or the human suffering that lies behind each statistic.”

Mr. Brokenshire added: “We are taking action to better support and protect victims. At the same time the best way to reduce their number is to disrupt, convict and imprison the criminals involved.”

The Minister said that combating trafficking was central to their Serious and Organised Crime Strategy and a priority for the new National Crime Agency.

“The Modern Slavery Bill will also send the strongest possible message to criminals that if you are involved in this disgusting trade in human beings, you will be arrested, you will be prosecuted and you will be locked up,” Mr. Brokenshire said. “All this is a good start, but we need everyone to play a part – government, law enforcement, business, charities – if we are to consign slavery to the history books where it belongs.”

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