This month the Commissioner addressed financial services and investor audiences about the practical steps that businesses and senior managers should be taking to address modern slavery risks and concern. Two web events are now available to view on demand: The Simmons & Simmons LLP Global Insights: Modern Slavery in financial services and The Investor Forum: The role of investors in eradicating modern slavery.
Ongoing engagement in this area follows the January 2021 launch of Preventing Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking: an agenda for action across the financial sector, a report jointly produced with Themis and the Tribe Freedom Foundation, and subsequent IASC review and five recommendations published in September 2021.
The Roundtable on Trafficking in Human Beings and the Financial Sector, jointly organized by the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner with the Organization of Co-operation and Security (OSCE) and Finance against Slavery and Trafficking (FAST) Initiative was hosted in London on 30 November 2021. It brought together financial institutions, financial intelligence units, and anti-trafficking coordinators from twelve countries to discuss the importance of detecting and disrupting illicit financial flows generated from trafficking in human beings within legitimate financial networks.
Read the joint statement from the IASC, OSCE and FAST following the conclusion of the roundtable on the critical role of the financial sector in combating trafficking in human beings and modern-day slavery.
The Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner, Dame Sara Thornton, has written to the Home Secretary in response to the Nationality and Borders Bill which was introduced on 6 July 2021.
Dame Sara’s letter refers to the Bill as a whole where measures may impact victims of modern slavery with detailed focus on Part 4 (now Part 5) Modern Slavery. The letter highlights the potential for the legislation to make the identification of modern slavery victims harder. It raises concerns that the proposals will increase vulnerability to trafficking but may not deter migrants from putting themselves in the hands of the smugglers and traffickers. Finally, it warns that the proposal that those sentenced to twelve months or more in prison should not receive support within the National Referral Mechanism could significantly undermine the ability to bring traffickers to justice.
Read the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner’s letter to the Home Secretary here.
An op-ed written by Dame Sara Thornton was published in The Times Red Box on 4 November 2021.
On 29 December 2021 The Telegraph published an op-ed co-written by Dame Sara and Victims' Commissioner Dame Vera Baird outlining their joint concerns about the risks of the Bill on victims of modern slavery and human trafficking.
The Organization for Security and Partnership in Europe (OSCE) in partnership with the UK Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner has issued a brief on the role of independent National Rapporteurs or equivalent mechanisms in enhancing States’ anti-trafficking responses.
In July 2021 experts from across the OSCE area were invited to share their existing experience and discuss the role of independent National Rapporteurs with a view to strengthening States’ responses to human trafficking.
Based on the roundtable findings the brief outlines key improvements that can be delivered by independent National Rapporteurs or equivalent mechanisms, and encourages States to consider several recommendations and proposals for action on issues including resourcing, data collection and analysis, and multi-agency co-operation.
The full issue brief can be read here.
The UK Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner co-signed an open letter calling on G7 Heads of State and Government to elevate and act on this issue of forced labour in global supply chains.
A copy of the letter can be read here.
Following the Summit, the Commissioner welcomes the commitment from G7 leaders to continue to work collaboratively on the issue of forced labour, as set out in the Free and Fair Trade section of the Carbis Bay G7 Summit Communique.
The Home Office has created a community bulletin for stakeholder updates on the EU Settlement Scheme. You can sign up to this here. Further resources include a toolkit for community groups to support EU citizens to apply to stay in the UK and communications material.
Details of organisations funded to provide support to vulnerable and at risk EU citizens applying to the EU Settlement Scheme cane be found here. The postcode checker can be used to find support locally. A factsheet with guidance on supporting EEA nationals with care needs can be found here.
More broadly, information on how to find a registered immigration advisor can be found here. This includes the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC) Adviser Finder.
Modern slavery is an umbrella term encompassing slavery, servitude, forced or compulsory labour and human trafficking. Victims of modern slavery are unable to leave their situation of exploitation, controlled by threats, punishment, violence, coercion and deception. Slavery violates human rights, denying people of their right to life, freedom and security.
If you think someone is in immediate danger, please call the police on 999. In order to protect the potential victim, do not attempt to inform them of your actions.
If you think someone is a potential victim but there is no immediate threat to life, please call the local police on 101.
You can also call the Modern Slavery Helpline on 0800 0121 700 24 hours a day.
If you have information you wish to give anonymously and confidentially you can call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
See the ‘Resources’ page for more detailed guidance on how to refer a victim of modern slavery for support.