Combating human trafficking & modern slavery

23 Sep 2023

The unsettling truth is that modern slavery cases are on the rise here in Britain. An estimated 100,000 victims of modern slavery currently reside in the UK. 

We all share a moral responsibility to confront and eradicate modern slavery. 

Yet too often, the plight of its victims is overlooked and ignored by a Conservative Government that should be their defender.

Time and again, the Conservatives have let survivors down. They have dismantled crucial protections enshrined within the Modern Slavery Act, and abandoned their commitment to establish a single enforcement agency. They have perpetuated unfounded claims that individuals are "gaming" the modern slavery system. And they have left the UK without an Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner for over a year. 

This cannot stand. Liberal Democrats are unwavering in our determination to combat human trafficking and modern slavery. 

Our commitment begins with immediately reversing the Conservative Government's rollbacks, and extends to creating a new system designed to prevent exploitation, bring traffickers to justice, and provide survivors with the support they so rightfully deserve.

  • Justice for Survivors: Better resourcing for the criminal justice system to bring more traffickers to justice, and establishing a civil remedy that empowers survivors to seek redress from their traffickers.
  • Support and Protection: Giving survivors the support they deserve. This includes access to legal aid, protection from detention or removal, and the right to work after three months in the National Referral Mechanism (NRM).
  • Worker Protection: Establishing a powerful new Worker Protection Enforcement Authority, focused on proactive intelligence-led enforcement of labour market standards and a firewall that separates labour standards enforcement from immigration enforcement.

Our new policy also underscores the importance of overhauling migration rules to prevent exploitation from happening in the first place:

  • Safe and Legal Routes: Creating safe and legal routes for sanctuary in the UK, curbing the demand for people smugglers.
  • Sensible Migration Rules: Removing arbitrary salary thresholds so that employers and employees are less reliant on temporary worker visas.

Modern slavery is an affront to our values and a stain on our society. It is our collective duty to end this exploitation and cruelty.




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