Publication of the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner's Strategic Plan 2019 - 2021


The Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner, Dame Sara Thornton, has today published her Strategic Plan for 2019 – 2021.

The Strategic Plan has been laid before Parliament by the Secretary of State (Home Secretary) in accordance with the Modern Slavery Act (2015).

The Strategic Plan outlines the objectives and priorities for the period 2019 – 2021 and identifies matters on which the Commissioner proposes to report.

There are four priorities:

  • Improving victim care and support
  • Supporting law enforcement and prosecutions
  • Focusing on prevention
  • Getting value from research and innovation

Read the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner’s Strategic Plan 2019 – 2021


Dame Sara Thornton, Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner, said:

“Since I took up the role of Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner in May, I have spent a lot of time meeting stakeholders – visiting safe houses and listening to victims and survivors, meeting business leaders and talking to statutory bodies, central and local government, law enforcement and the devolved administrations.

My priorities rightly focus on victim protection and bringing traffickers to justice.

However, protecting victims and prosecuting traffickers is not enough. To stop this crime from happening in the first place, we need to do much more to tackle the systems and structures that allow modern slavery to thrive.

I want to see a focus on prevention span the whole spectrum of our response to combatting modern slavery – from raising awareness of consumers and citizens, to ensuring that businesses, public services and government are doing all that they can to prevent trafficking from taking place in their organisations and in their supply chains.

In the next year we will need to make new arrangements for international co-operation with European law enforcement and policing agencies. Many trafficking investigations are currently undertaken with European partners. It is essential that we are able to replicate the current level of transnational co-operation in the future in order to bring to justice those who trade in our fellow human beings.

Similarly, as we rethink our migration policies it is vital that the protection of vulnerable people is front and centre. We need to ensure that the migration systems developed are stress tested to ensure that they do not provide traffickers with opportunities to exploit the vulnerable. Those who traffick and trade in human beings will take any opportunity for exploitation. We must not let them threaten our joint security.

We must take a collaborative approach in the fight against modern slavery in the UK and beyond. I look forward to working in partnership with stakeholders across the sector as I take forward the objectives in my strategy.” 




  • Part 4 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 created the role of the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner. The Commissioner has a UK-wide remit to encourage good practice in the prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of slavery and human trafficking offences and the identification of victims.
  • The Commissioner is given an annual budget with which to appoint staff and carry out her duties. She is accountable through her strategic plan and annual reports, which the Secretary of State lays before Parliament, setting out the extent to which objectives and priorities are achieved.
  • Dame Sara Thornton was appointed as the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner by the Secretary of State following consultation with the Scottish Ministers and the Department of Justice in Northern Ireland. She took up post at the beginning of May 2019 and her appointment is for three years.