According to the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner’s first annual report, only 28% of human trafficking referrals in England and Wales were recorded as crimes last year. One of his priorities is to work towards more investigations and increased prosecutions.
Actions that will support this are:
- The Gangmasters Licensing Authority (GLA) will become the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) next year. The GLAA will be led by the new Director of Labour Market Enforcement who will set the strategic priorities for labour market enforcement, thus ensuring that efforts are targeted where risk of noncompliance is greatest. An Intelligence Hub with regard to worker exploitation is being created to support the work of the Director. The reformed GLA will be given additional powers under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, extending the GLA’s current reach in the UK food and drink processing and packaging, agriculture and shellfish gathering industry to powers to investigate abuse allegations across the entire UK labour market. Also, the new GLAA remit will be unlimited with officers able to look into allegations of labour abuse in all aspects of UK business.
- PM Theresa May has set up a new Government Modern Slavery Taskforce. The new taskforce which will be chaired by the Prime Minister herself, aims to do more to bring perpetrators to justice and to support victims both domestically and overseas with the focus on 4 specific objectives:
- Bring efforts and resources targeted at modern slavery in line with resources to tackle other forms of organised crime – including by increase investigatory resource, capabilities and intelligence provision;
- Increase and improve investigations into the perpetrators of modern slavery, through further education of law enforcement officers on the nature of modern slavery offences; the provision of additional tools to support investigations such as greater data and intelligence; and more effective use of joint investigation teams;
- Improve successful prosecution levels with further education of prosecuting authorities on modern slavery, and improvements to the quality of supporting evidence;
- Improve international cooperation to tackle modern slavery.
- A new Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) Inspection was commissioned by the Prime Minister in July this year to ensure all police forces respond accordingly to modern slavery and treat the crime with the priority it deserves. The Inspectorate will carry out a two phased inspection, beginning in 2016/17 and concluding in 2017/18. The Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner has been pushing for this independent assessment and will work with HMIC to ensure that the inspections are targeted appropriately and draw on evidence and analysis developed by his office.
This post was written by Stronger Together