UK Parliament to discuss draft law to better protect modern slavery victims
The Modern Slavery law would give victims at least 12 months of guaranteed support. Charity CARE asks Christians to contact their local MP to support the initiative.
Premier Christianity · LONDON · 17 JANUARY 2020 · 12:05 CET
The Modern Slavery (Victim Support) draft law was introduced in the United Kingdom Parliament on Monday, sponsored by Lord Ian McColl of Dulwich, a surgeon who worked for Mercy Ships since 1989; and supported by conservative MP Iain Duncan Smith.
The draft law aims to improve support for modern slavery victims across England and Wales. It would give victims at least 12 months of guaranteed support, with the possibility of further assistance following assessment.
45-DAY POLICY WITHDRAWN LAST YEAR
Last July, the Home Office withdrew its 45-day policy of support for victims of human trafficking, after a high court judge suspended it in April, because it “risked causing irreparable harm to very vulnerable individuals”.
“The Home Secretary’s nonsensical policy on support has finally ended; victims of trafficking and modern slavery will no longer be left at the mercy of the 45-day cliff-edge drop in support”, then said Ahmed Aydeed, public law director of Duncan Lewis, the law firm that challenged the policy.
CARE: “VICTIMS NEED A PROLONGUED PERIOD OF STABILITY TO RECOVER”
Christian public policy charity CARE is backing the new draft law and encouraging Christians to contact their local MP to make sure the legislation gets to Royal Assent. It is also calling on the Government to get behind it too.
According to Nadia Burrell, CARE's Human Trafficking Policy Officer, “to have real recovery victims need a prolonged period of stability and safety and the current system just does not provide that".
The new policy could also bring an estimated saving on the tax payer of £25 million, as victims will be less likely to become homeless, to develop increased mental health problems and require later intervention if they were to be trafficked again.
“A victim then can have time to recover and if they are able to stay, that means that they can get work and contribute back to our economy”, Burrell told English news website Premier.
“CHURCHES SHOULD CONTACT THEIR MP TO SUPPORT THE BILL”
CARE's Human Trafficking Policy Officer emphasised that “the type of support should be dependent on what is needed by each individual, from safe accommodation, to medical help and mental health support”.
“As a church we should stand up to this awful injustice. We need to be looking at this in the face and knowing what is going on. We need to be making sure that people know it's a reality that happens here in the UK, not just around the world, and that the church should be contacting their MP to support Lord McColl's Bill”, Burrell said.
The draft law comes when the number of victims of modern slavery continues to rise in the UK. Recent data showed that 2,808 victims were referred to the National Referral Mechanism between July and September 2019, up 61% from the same period in 2018.