The Association of Labour Providers (ALP) has welcomed the Modern Slavery Bill, which is expected to be included in today’s Queen’s Speech.
However, it says it is waiting to see whether a requirement for large companies to report what they are doing to deal with exploitation of workers is included in the legislation.
The new bill, which aims to crack down on the exploitation of workers, is due to announced by the Queen in Parliament today as she sets out the government’s policies and proposed legislative programme for the new parliamentary session, the last before the General Election in 2015.
Among the measures expected in the Modern Slavery Bill are:
• an increase in the maximum custodial sentence for convicted traffickers from 14 years to life.
• the creation of a new post of anti-slavery commissioners to hold law enforcement and other organisations to account.
And in changes to the original draft bill, victims of slavery will be able to claim compensation from offenders in recognition of the exploitation and the loss of dignity they have suffered. The bill will require judges to give their reasons when no reparation order is made.
The legislation will also include protection from prosecution for victims of trafficking, who ministers believe fail to come forward to authorities for fear of being prosecuted for working in brothels and cannabis farms.
A Home Office spokesperson said: "Victims of slavery are robbed of their humanity and dignity, and often subjected to severe emotional cruelty at the hands of their enslavers. We want to ensure that victims of this horrendous crime get the reparation they deserve."
David Camp, director of ALP, tells Recruiter
: “We support the introduction of the Modern Slavery Bill.” However, he adds that he is waiting to whether requirements for companies above a certain size to include in their annual reports what they are doing to deal with modern slavery in their supply chain, are included in the bill.
Camp says that a legal requirement for greater transparency “would be a very strong message to industry to tackle this in their supply chain”.
Gangmasters Licensing Authority (GLA) chief executive officer Paul Broadbent adds: “The GLA is an organisation founded on the principle to prevent exploitation by protecting vulnerable people so we fully support any drive to curb trafficking and tackle modern slavery.”
“While it is unfortunate that some workers fall victim of trafficking and forced labour, the reality is that it does happen in the UK on a regular basis. We therefore also back any moves that help victims gain compensation from those who have sought to take advantage and profit from exploitation.”
• Want to comment on this story? The Comment box is at the bottom of the page. Sorry for the glitch but just scroll right down and share your opinions!