With Anti-Slavery Day just passing on the 18th October, I thought I would write a piece about Modern Slavery and update you on the work the Government is doing in this area. I was deeply saddened to read the recent figures on modern slavery, particularly the shocking statistic that if all enslaved people were brought together in a single country, it would be the 34th most populous country in the world - ahead of Poland and Canada. This is just not acceptable in the 21st century.
Modern slavery is a global problem and we need to work together if we are to make real progress towards eliminating it. That is why, in September, more than 30 countries from all regions across the global, including the UK, signed a Call to Action, clearly stating that they will not tolerate modern slavery. The UK will also double its development spending on modern slavery to £150 million, enabling more work in collaboration with source and transit countries.
I am encouraged that the Government wants to go even further. I was very involved in bringing about the UK’s Modern Slavery Act 2015 as a member of the Bill committee scrutinizing the legislation. I also met with a number of Norfolk charities and businesses at the time of the Act’s progress through Parliament in order to assess the extent of modern slavery in the county. This Act is a world-leading piece of legislation and Government colleagues in the Home Office, the Department for International Development and Foreign Office are working to lead the international response to modern slavery. This will enable more work in collaboration with source and transit countries. This will include an investment of £20 million in the new Global Fund to End Modern Slavery, partnering with the United States to provide seed funding for this new initiative, which it is hoped will leverage $1.5 billion to address the resourcing gap for modern slavery.
I was pleased to have recently received a letter from Sarah Newton MP, the Home Office Minister for Crime Safeguarding and Vulnerability, which sets out in more detail the steps the Government are taking to tackle Modern Slavery and I am attaching it to this piece for you to read.