Tuesday, 24 February 2015
Modern Slavery Bill Progress
The Modern Slavery Bill reached the Report stage yesterday (Monday 23rd February), where the legislators have a further opportunity to examine and make amendments to the bill. This will be followed by two more stages before it gains royal assent and becomes law. The provisional date for the 3rd reading in the House of Lords is March 4th. Since it was first introduced in June last year, the bill has undergone a series of tweaks and due diligence to craft it so that it is fit for purpose, although some groups still feel it does not go far enough particularly in addressing the rights of victims.
The bill is clearly aimed at providing the legal place for defining and prosecuting criminals, protecting and supporting victims and promoting accountability through corporate responsibility. Alongside this is the Modern Slavery strategy document issued in November last year which is intended to be a comprehensive cross-government approach to fighting modern slavery.
This was undoubtedly a necessary move in the right direction given the fragmented understanding of a new problem. However, on a local level, many police authorities have had to play catch-up as they formulate a coherent system to recognise the problem. They have had to devise a protocol for recording incidences and nominate a pivotal person as the central source to collate and recognise emerging patterns.
Historically it takes activists to affect change and again it has taken many groups including Anti-Slavery International, Salvation Army, Hope for Justice etc as well as local groups such as Hull: Slave Free City and ourselves to encourage focus, education and training. The reality is that as well as frontline staff, it needs a wider audience to be vigilant as it takes every person to notice and respond.
The monument has been in the press again but the inference is that it is unlikely to move given the funding issues relating to the move. Also the re-modelling of the centre of Hull and Queen's Gardens needs to be taken into account. Our stance on this has always been neutral and we remain committed to lighting the monument in whatever location it is situated.
Thank you to Mrs Andrews at Biggin Hill Primary School in Bransholme for inviting us to look at the follow-up work after their visit to Wilberforce House.
There is still time to buy tickets for the Wilberforce Annual Quiz at Cottingham Parks Golf Club. Please email us - tickets are £3 per person and it is 4 people per table/team.
If you plan to run the Hull Marathon, why not get sponsored and do it for the Fund? You can make the event even more memorable by helping us to light the Wilberforce monument to raise awareness of historic and modern day slavery. Please email your interest today or come and join us at our welcome meeting at Kardomah94 on 7th March.
We thank Freedom Festival and Hull Marathon for showing their support.
The image is an official government poster for their current modern slavery awareness campaign, and is taken from the Lincolnshire Police website.