Life sentences for traffickers in new slavery bill

New anti-slavery laws that will see human traffickers given maximum life sentences in jail are published today, the Home Office has confirmed.

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'Landmark' anti-slavery 'tougher on slave-drivers'

Home Secretary Theresa May said the new anti-slavery laws published today will enable the government to get much tougher on slave-drivers, in both charges and sentencing.

Mrs May said the legislation was "landmark" within Europe, and an important step in creating greater penalties for those who profit from the trafficking of people, but that the government still does not know the full extent of the issue.

Charity: UK needs 'more victim support for slaves'

New anti-slavery measures may not go far enough, a charity which rescues victims of human trafficking has suggested.

Hope for Justice founder Ben Cooley said the The Modern Slavery Bill was "critical" to ending slavery in the UK, more needed to be done for victims so they "don't disappear" underground.

We've learnt from experience that victim welfare is inextricably linked to the prosecution of perpetrators.

When victims are supported from rescue right through to the courtroom, their testimonies make all the difference in seeing justice served.

Sadly, we don't always see that happen in the UK and Hope for Justice exists to stand in those gaps.

This Bill is a critical step towards ending slavery in our country but going forwards we must all ensure that victims are supported so they don't disappear on the other side of initial after-care provision just to be re-trafficked.

– Hope for Justice founder Ben Cooley


MP: 'Do not punish victims for laws broken when slaves'

The Government's "poverty tzar" Frank Field wants to put victim support at the centre of the Coalitions proposals to tackle human trafficking.

Former welfare reform minister Frank Field is leading a review into slavery in modern Britain. Credit: PA

Labour MP Frank Field recommended giving victims of slavery support rather than a conviction for crimes committed under duress.

He also wanted to see protections and entitlements for victims enshrined in law and force the police and Crown Prosecution Service to investigate further if there is evidence to suggest the defendant is a victim of trafficking.

Mr Field said: "It is indisputable that victims of modern slavery suffer from an evil with few equivalents. They are subject to horrors that, thankfully, most people never think about, let alone face."

Mr Field argued that increasing the number of human trafficking prosecutions would only happen if victims felt safer to come forward and give evidence.

His comments come as the home secretary publishes the draft Modern Day Slavery Bill later today.

Tougher anti-slavery laws to be published

Robust legislation designed to punish human traffickers will be published later today, the Home Office has said.

The Home Office said it would be the first bill of its kind in Europe. Credit: Reuters

Proposals include extending the maximum punishment from 14 years imprisonment to a maximum life sentence.

The Modern Slavery Bill contains provisions to give automatic life sentences to offenders who already have convictions for very serious sexual or violent offences.

A new anti-slavery commissioner will also be appointed to review the steps law enforcement and other agencies are taking to prevent modern day slavery.

Plans were first unveiled by the home secretary back in August.

In an article for the Times, Teresa May said then it was "scarcely believable" there was slavery in modern Britain, but the "harsh reality" was there were people in the UK "forced to exist in appalling conditions, often against their will".

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