Criminals convicted of human trafficking and modern slavery face being sentenced to life in prison from today (Friday 31 July) as the Modern Slavery Act comes into force.
The first series of measures to be enforced, which are focused on criminal justice provisions, include:
*ensuring that those who commit these crimes are subject to the toughest possible asset recovery regime
*introducing Slavery and Trafficking Reparation Orders designed to encourage the courts to use seized assets for the purposes of victim compensation
*the commencement of regional pilots of the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) – the system used across Government and by various agencies to refer, protect and support victims of modern slavery
Commenting on the news law, Karen Bradley (Home Office minister responsible for preventing abuse and exploitation), said: “Today the new, consolidated and improved slavery and trafficking offences commence, ensuring that perpetrators receive the severe sentences their crimes deserve, including life imprisonment. This landmark legislation sends the strongest possible message to criminals: if you are involved in this vile trade you will be arrested, you will be prosecuted and you will be locked up. As a Government, we’re standing up for the most vulnerable in society and it also says to victims that you are not alone. We are here to help you.”
Earlier this week Prime Minister David Cameron announced that, following consultation, additional provisions addressing the prevention of slavery in supply chains will come into force this October.
*The turnover threshold for businesses who must declare what steps they are taking to tackle modern slavery has been set at £36 million
*Additional provisions of the Act which further address support for victims will be introduced later on this year