Home Secretary Theresa May has launched a consultation to feed into the forthcoming Modern Slavery Bill.
Ms. May asked Frank Field MP, in his role as vice-chair of the Human Trafficking Foundation and as a member of the Advisory Council to the Centre for Social Justice, to lead an urgent public debate about practical and effective ways of ending modern slavery in the UK.
The evidence sessions will be hosted by the Centre for Social Justice over the next two months. The Human Trafficking Foundation has agreed to bring in key witnesses from abroad to help draw on best practice.
The findings will feed into a draft Modern Slavery Bill that the government intends to publish this session for pre-legislative scrutiny.
The aim is to introduce a bill next session that could be passed and on the statute books by the end of this parliament.
Ms. May said: “We must all work together if we are to end the scourge of modern slavery and the organised criminal gangs behind it. Consolidating and strengthening our legislation is an important start.”
The Home Secretary said she wants the “parliament to have the opportunity to properly scrutinise a draft bill.”
She said she also wants to “ensure those with first-hand knowledge and expertise are given the opportunity to inform the bill’s development.”
Mr. Field said: “It takes, in my experience, at least 10 years for a major report to be translated into legislation. To counter modern day slavery, the government has cut that timescale to under 10 months. Here is a crucial issue around which all parties can unite, in a way that is both fully probing and anxious to see this bill onto the statute book.
“We now have an opportunity to make slavery history in this country. I hope the public will give much support to politicians of all parties, as well as to those voluntary bodies countering modern slavery, to seize this extraordinary opportunity.”