Sara Thornton has begun her three-year term as Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner, starting 1 May 2019. She was selected for the role by the Home Secretary Sajid Javid MP.

The role of the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner was created as one of the provisions of the Modern Slavery Act 2015. The Commissioner has a UK-wide remit to encourage good practice in the prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of modern slavery offences and the identification of victims.

The Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner spearheads the UK response to tackling modern slavery, which was first made a key Government priority by Prime Minister Theresa May when she was Home Secretary.

New IASC, Sara Thornton said:

“I am delighted to take up this crucial role as the UK’s Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner. I am determined to build on the good work of my predecessor and look forward to bringing my experience in policing, supporting victims of crime, to bear in this role.

Last year, a record number of nearly 7,000 potential victims of modern slavery were submitted to the National Referral Mechanism. The true number of victims of this crime is undoubtedly far higher, and I want to ensure that prevention of modern slavery and the provision of adequate support for all victims and survivors in the UK remains at the heart of our response.

I welcome the opportunity to work in collaboration with stakeholders across the sector as I drive the UK’s response to ending this cruel exploitation against the most vulnerable.”

During her time in office, Sara will focus on improving victim identification and support; effective prevention, including examining efforts to build the evidence base through research on modern slavery, and how this impacts and informs policy; an enhanced law enforcement and criminal justice response; engagement with the private sector to ensure that supply chains are free of slavery; and targeted international collaboration to combat modern slavery globally.


(Covering photograph ©Martin Godwin)